Competition, commissions and caution: Milan’s striker search descends into farce

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s pursuit of a new striker is at risk of turning from an intriguing soap opera into a frustrating farce as targets continue to come and go.

As our colleagues at SempreMilan.it write, the Milan directors have known for some time now – months rather than days or weeks – that they needed to sign a new starting striker to replace Olivier Giroud this summer, and yet any pre-planning is yet to yield any desired reports.

The name that has so far been linked most concretely was Joshua Zirkzee and we can confirm that he was the number one target for the entire mercato. It was a negotiation that begun some time ago, progressed quickly but then came to a brutal halt due to the huge commissions demanded by his agent.

According to what our sources in Bologna state, Manchester United have overtaken Milan in the race for the Dutchman, getting themselves in pole position for the Dutch striker. The Red Devils would in fact have no problem satisfying Kia Joorabchian’s requests, given their vast resources.

However, it still seems premature to talk about Zirkzee – who is still busy with the Dutch national team at the European Championships and wants time to decide – as a vanished objective. Nonetheless, alternatives are naturally being probed and are vanishing.

Guirassy goes, Demirovic disappears, Sesko stays

Serhou Guirassy scored 28 goals in 28 games in the Bundesliga last season, and he will leave Stuttgart to join Borussia Dortmund. It is potentially real bargain for the Champions League runners-up who will acquire the Guinean by paying only the €17.5m release clause in his contract.

Milan made a move for Guirassy last January, but the 28-year-old refused, reluctant to leave Stuttgart mid-season. Despite the negotiations carried out with his agent this summer, Milan backtracked due to the increased costs related to his salary and commissions. BVB were happy to pay it.

The player who will replace Guirassy at Stuttgart is another player who has been linked to Milan in recent weeks: Ermedin Demirovic. The Bosnian striker will leave Augsburg, where he scored 15 goals and 10 assists last season, to strengthen the squad of another Bundesliga club.

Demirovic was one of Milan’s possible back-up plans in the event that Zirkzee didn’t arrive, and we reported that Paulo Fonseca gave his approval. It was an operation worth around €20m that the Diavolo passed up on to continue their pursuit of the Bologna star, who costs double.

Benjamin Sesko was the name who emerged a couple of months ago as a rival to Zirkzee. The 20-year-old Slovenian was courted by Geoffrey Moncada already at the beginning of 2024, but in this case the difference was made by the resistance of his current club to sell him.

In fact, RB Leipzig refused to sit at any negotiating table, even when Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea were after him, instead proposing Sesko a contract renewal until 2029 with a significant salary increase attached.

Viktor Gyokeres was also linked with Milan by various sources, and yet it seemed like an unreachable dream. The Swedish international plies his trade at Sporting CP with whom he scored a whopping 43 goals last season and added 15 assists in 50 games.

Due to this incredible form his market value has seen a surge, pushing his price tag to €100m or more. Chelsea and Arsenal are now the teams that are being mentioned, with the Premier League seemingly in his destiny.

The last ones standing

If Zirkzee were to end up at United, there is a risk that Milan could end up having to accelerate for a striker that was not near the top of their list going into the summer, like Jonathan David or Romelu Lukaku. Even then, these are two very different profiles.

However, as far as we know, Milan have never entered into any negotiations with the agent of Lukaku. The rumours that he would be the new face of the Rossoneri attack for next season are therefore not credible.

The reasons are pretty obvious: the player’s age (31 years old), his salary (€12m net per season at Chelsea), as well as Chelsea’s decision not to let him go on loan anymore which means a permanent deal is needed.

Not only that, but it feels like it could potentially be a lazy link by the media because Lukaku is a striker with the opposite characteristics to Zirkzee, something which Hernan Crespo spoke in more detail about earlier today.

On the other hand, Jonathan David fits at least partially with Zirkzee’s characteristics, while in terms of the economic aspect of the deal he would be the most accessible purchase of the centre-forwards that are still available.

The Canadian striker is valued at around €30m by Lille given he has a year left on his deal, while they are a club that Milan are on good terms with after the Rafael Leao, Tiago Djalo and Mike Maignan operations.

Not only that, but there is another obvious connection: Paulo Fonseca knows the Canadian forward having coached him in each of the last two seasons, seasons in which he scored 52 goals combined (26 in each).

For these reasons – and there could always be twists – if Milan are unable to land Zirkzee, they are more likely to turn to David, ending a long-standing admiration with what could be an ideal marriage.

Tags AC Milan Benjamin Sesko Jonathan David Joshua Zirkzee Romelu Lukaku Viktor Gyökeres

44 Comments

  1. They posted a profit, while failing to close deals for Miranda and Guirassy in January, when it was already obvious, our team was exhausted and would not challenge for the title unless a miracle happened…which shows their priorities were and are not to strengthen the club.

    We had the money to do it. They didn’t spend it when it was needed. This window looks like it will be an abysmal one, Juve and Inter, are stronger on and off the pitch. We made a sidestep at best with the coach and haven’t made any decisive moves, with our best player in our weakest position saying he isn’t commited to staying here….

    1. They posted a profit far less than the price of either of those players would have been in January.

      And if you say the team “would not challenge for the title unless a miracle happened” then what is the point in wasting money hoping for a miracle? We came second, the next best result possible. Now I’m playing Devil’s Advocate, because I think another striker could have had a significant impact, but there’s no way Stuttgart would let Guirassey go in January (his clause was only active in the summer) and his agent probably would have advised waiting until his fee was lower anyway (can demand higher wages).

      1. With the depth we had, we needed a miracle. Addressing our lack of scoring would have benefited us.

        Guirassy could have been had for the same price if they knew he was going to leave regardless.

        1. Stuttgart came second and got Champions’ League football. They were not going to let their top scorer go for cheap in pursuit of that!

          And even if they agreed to a 30-40m transfer, it would have made more sense to the player to wait for summer.

          1. we posted a 10 to 20 million euro profit. That is likely 15 million. The year before as well. Say 5 million. That is 20 million. You are allowed by FFP regulations to have up to 60 million euros in losses over three years. So we had wiggle room of 80 million euros to invest prior to this summer without penalties. We were in a perfectly fine position to sign Guyrassi. If not, Thuram in the summer, bonuses and agent fees included, yet still be in the clear by a long mile. If we advanced to the next round in the CL, we would have made the money invested in either back regardless, it would have been a wash out.

            They are not prioritizing putting the best team possible, emphasize, possible on the field and trying to achieve results. Saying we finished 2nd is not an achievement. We had the difference between 1st and second in our grasp, with the means to sign the player, then baulked out of arrogance think Thuram would turn down Inter. When that mistake became apparent, they had to secure a better forward up front. Expecting Giroud to carry the burden with Jovic for the rest of the year was insane.

  2. Meanwhile as we f@ck about playing pin the tail on the striker, Juve sign Douglas Luiz, Kephren Thuram and move onto Koopmeiners…..

    Still….moneyball

    1. It looks like last summer again. Rabiot is the new Thuram, Zirkee is the new Taremi. Let’s see who will be the new Tonali. After selling, they did bring Chelsea rejects and some unknown players from nowhere. Could be the same pattern according to reports.

      1. Oh there’s plenty more chelsea rejects up for grabs…I’m sure Avery is getting a boner….

        Amazes me how people don’t see the dots….just because they say one thing and do the opposite. Like we are the most financially secure club in the league…yet it’s inter renewing top players and Juve buying a new world class midfield

        No more ‘the window isn’t open’ excuses, it’s been ooen one day and Juve are on it and may add Calafiori to that list…Still there will be excuses that the fan boys will swallow

        1. You’re right. We’re two days into a two month window. Why haven’t we addressed every position of need by now?

          Yah?

          1. It seems like it’s a three month window looking at many top clubs that already took care of their business since the end of the season. It’s not like Mike and Théo looking for a pay rise or the need for a striker (for at least three years) or the need to strengthen the team in the midfield and at centre back are brand new concerns from two days ago. So to answer your question, the management didn’t address anything because they are simply clowns.

          2. Early bird catches the worm dude….Juve now have players to work With in pre season…what, are you waiting for another deadline day Jovic who has no time to integrate into the squad…

            Juve have clearly been working on these targets for some time and have highlighted them and signed them. From reports we haven’t a f@cking clue who we want up front

      2. Mike (sensibly) and Theo get renewed after the EURO’s I hope. That would make most sense. Same with the Zee saga – take it or leave it after the tournament (even though Zee isn’t even playing).

        You and I don’t see eye to eye on “clownship”, mon cher. I don’t have a reason to doubt their mercato moves because I mostly approved last summer moves. like it or not, these guys have their own parameters they will go buy. Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

    2. but we posted a profit, a bigger one than the previous year, stop being such a negative Nancy. We are winning in the sustainability and profitability margins race. Be positive. We don’t want to actually win on the pitch…We are in a great financial position though.

    3. You do not understand what moneyball is. Romero is moneyball. International players are not an example of moneyball. No player over €20 million is a moneyball signing.

      1. What part don’t I understand? Moneyball is basically buying forgotten, unknown or undervalued assets on a cheap budget and trying to replace numbers produced by big expensive talents this way

        In football today 20m is peanuts

  3. I wonder why they wouldn’t push more for David even before.

    Zirkzee is average and expensive, Lukaku is a joke, Abraham is an expensive leftover from dinner and Gimenez (Feyenoord) is good, but too expensive for what he showed so far.

    Comparing to all of them, David seems to be way better option. 4 seasons in good leagues (1x Belgium and 3x France), scores over 15 goals each season, still young (24).

    He also plays and scores on regular basis with his national team (27 goals), he is only 24 and he is just 2 goals away from being all-time top scorer of Canada. Maybe they are not world superpower in football, but hey, this is really amazing statistic for a young striker. Meanwhile Zirkzee can only play Candy Crush saga on the Dutch bench, because he won’t even get 1 minute of play time.

    1. Probably good practice for Zirkzee if he’s going to go sit on Man United’s bench next season, to be fair.

      By most accounts, Jonathan David wants to move to England. Assuming Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal would go for Gyokeres and Osimhen as first choices, one of them will crack and go for the cheaper option of David most likely.

    2. David’s actually not a bad option – I just worry about his goal droughts every season. We already have Leao taking a 3 month break every season.

  4. You would think after years knowing we needed a striker this summer, something would have been done and dusted .
    Instead we hear nonsense about commissions (which they must have known about). It’s like last year with Taremi – blame the agents, yet Inter can sign him no problem. It’s amateur hour.

    Remember when Gigio wouldn’t extend and Milan agreed a deal with Mike in April/May, that’s how you plan.
    We will end up at the end of summer with last gasp, washed up wanna be’s.

    This summer for once there are a few strikers available!!

    Let’s be real, if the owners gave a sh1t about winning, we would be in Naples buying Osimehn.
    He would sell some shirts in Nigeria, I guess the American market is more attractive and less discerning

    1. Well, plenty of decent American players out there who could be useful but no interest in any of them either, according to the rumours. Heck, Haji Wright is doing exactly the same things for Coventry that Gyokeres was before.

      1. Everything used to be perfect didn’t it? We never let anyone leave for free, all these great players would magically appear in June – or mostly before the window even opened – and we’d never miss out on signing anyone! Ah, those were the days….

    1. That averages to 15 million per player. Good luck getting a proven striker for that amount. They did decently enough. Lacking depth on defense and secondary scoring outside of Jovic run of form is what cost us in Europe. The other teams we are supposed to compete with got stronger already.

      They want to spend 100 million, including wages, on 4 players this year. That averages out to 25 million euros each. Since they won’t pay agent fees, you can forget free transfers of any significance as well. If we only purchased two players, I’d see this market as one where we could improve the quality of two positions. Otherwise, it will not be anyone of superior quality to who we already have.

      1. Conveniently forgetting they have no problems paying the €40 million release clause. Last season was about squad depth. This season the objectives are different.

        1. Ibra gone, Giroud on his last leg, never replaced Kessie, Hakan, Romagnoli and Tonali was gone…What depth are you talking about? The depth we got blown out of in the CL and ridiculed in the Europa League?

          We needed a striker to integrate into the team 2 years ago. 2 of them actually..Since we sold one that we secured…We are 2 seasons behind on that front. We signed 3 players to make up for the characteristics of the one we sold, none with his defenses prowess. We weakened the midfield. Adding depth, instead of Quality isn’t always the best option.

          Did Pulisic score in big games consistently? Chuk or any other signing for that matter? No…we lacked quality more than depth because we operate for profits and maintaing wage caps before quality.

          We sold CDk who scored 11….as a sub, with more contrinutions in less minutes played than Zirkzee, he did so against better competition…for 27 million euros, but will pay a 40 million release clause and 1 million more a year, for a less productive player 😁🙌💪👌

          But yay clap your hands…we will pay 40 million 🙄

    2. Better find them sooner than later, otherwise we’ll end up with washed players that nobody wanted and we will (again) fail to reinforce the most urgent positions (striker and defensive midfielder).

      1. True, but the only position we were rushing around trying fill last season was second striker – and then even that turned out okay. Everyone’s suddenly lauding Inter getting Taremi but most on here weren’t when we were after him – he was a “washed up old Porto reject.” The dude scored 6 goals last season – same as RLC – but now Inter have pulled off some kind of masterstroke…

        1. I’m actually against Taremi for many reasons, but what I’m currently seeing doesn’t make me optimistic the slightest. How this story with Zirkzee is still dragging for so long while we definetly knew about kia’s comissions monthes ago ? And if we didn’t knew, how come we didn’t knew ?
          Also Zirkzee isn’t playing for Netherlands so what are we waiting for exactly to either a/ solve the issue b/move to other targets.
          Hojbjerg, Hjulmand, Dovbyk,… are no longer playing in the Euro, so we shouldn’t waste time to contact them.
          That and also the fact that we’re still seemingly trying to get discount on already cheap players and thus wasting time.

  5. Milan like “snail” to get race a new striker, the reason they have not good financial, n looking for effective purchase. I rather push use Milan’s Youth academy then buy new player, give minutes playing for Camarda, Colombo, Nastri, Zeroli, Pobega, Simic. Milan must learn they sell potential young play and become good player like Kerkes, and another legend like Kluivert in Barca. And Now Milan must buy new potential young player to strength youth sector.

  6. Why so much delay in deciding on choosing a striker. If it’s a money issue then AC should stick with the strikers available at the club …. if it’s not a money issue then buy the new striker. There seems to be a high level of procrastination from management and not much happening. Get on with it.

  7. Can someone explain to me why we want Zirkzee?
    He’s OK, but we don’t need OK. We either need someone better than Jovic and Okafor, or we need to put that money elsewhere like a new RB.

    1. Because he’s a player with physicality and skill who brings the best out of the players around him. He did a great job in being a threat but also improving players like Orsolini and Salaemaekers, so the theory is he can do even more with better attackers (on paper) like Leao, Pulisic and Chukwueze.

    2. 1. This was his first full season as a starter in a major league. 2. He came through Bayern’s youth team.
      3. He’s big, he’s strong, he can dribble for fun and he has bags of flair.
      4. He has shown steady progression. He is as close to a can’t miss talent as it gets.

  8. If the management weren’t racists, they would get Piamonti from Sassuolo. They’re relegated, he will be cheap and he’s coming off a good season. He would be far better than Lukaku, Abraham and Broja.

  9. Brilliant article that destroys the credibility (if any) of furlani and friends. They are ridiculous, stupid, fools, ignorant, idiots and clowns who have not the slightest idea how to manage milan. They are making utter fools of themselves and made milan the laughing stock of the whole of Serie A. How can we get rid of them?

    HOW WE MISS MALDINI AND MASSARA – 2 CLEVER GENTLEMEN.

    FURLANI OUT.

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