Despite the fact that the summer transfer window has just closed there is a name that continues to orbit AC Milan with increasing insistence: Jonathan David.
Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) reveals that Milan made an attempt to sign David from Lille on Thursday. Obviously, it would have been a very different operation from the ones touted for Patson Daka, Rafa Mir and Luka Jovic because the Canadian scored 24 goals in the league last season.
Not only that, but he is 23 years of age and is considered one of the centre-forwards with the highest potential on the European scene. However, it was not just a last-minute idea from the Rossoneri management.
Milan also evaluated David in June and July, when they were looking for a striker and were willing to make a big investment. Giorgio Furlani, Geoffrey Moncada and Stefano Pioli spoke several times about David in the first phase of the summer, but his price was set at €60m by Lille.
In the weeks that followed, Milan focused on Mehdi Taremi (wo later came back into fashion), Alvaro Morata (very expensive) and Gianluca Scamacca, who at the time seemed likely to leave West Ham on loan.
David remained at Lille but his future is yet to be written and Milan are – more or less officially – the first club that have signed up for the battle to land him because they have been watching him for some time and are convinced.
Then there is the question of his contract, which expires in 2025. Thinking from a 2024 perspective, Milan could aim to sign David one year before his deal runs out, just as they did with Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Samuel Chukwueze and Noah Okafor.
Those four players had only one year on their contracts, a detail that allowed Milan to purchase them for around €80m combined which is arguably below what their true market value actually was/is.
The peculiarity is the unexpected offer at the end of August which was a loan bid, and it suggests they will try again. Milan will need another striker next summer when Olivier Giroud will be close to 38, given Luka Jovic has no guarantee of staying and Okafor is not a natural No.9.
Mehdi Taremi could be a bridge, given he is a 31-year-old striker capable of alternating matches with Giroud and, in a year, with a young striker.
In 2020, David was Lille’s choice to replace Victor Osimhen who was bought by Napoli. The qualities are there: at 23 years old he shoots with his right and left foot, is good in one on one and has the technique to combine in tight spaces.
He scored 13 goals in his first season at Lille, increasing that to 19 in 2021-22 and 26 last season. It is still too early to understand what will happen because other big clubs will move and David has already spoken openly about the charm of the Premier League.
However, Milan obtained information on him twice in the summer and that will mean something.