AC Milan are struggling to resolve some of the situations linked to the players who are no longer part of their plans, with Divock Origi the most difficult.
Before reading the update below, it is worth checking out our latest Substack piece on Origi as well as Alexis Saelemaekers and Charles De Ketelaere, which has some exclusive info on their respective situations.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes about the ‘ghosts of Milan’ who have no faces on the club’s official website, where their names in the squad do not correspond to a photo.
They are Mattia Caldara, Fode Ballo-Touré, Alexis Saelemakers and Divock Origi, who were not among the 24 players called up for the game against Bologna on Monday night.
Pioli spoke after the game to clarify the decision: “I think we need to let some more players go. I want happy, available players. I don’t want disgruntled players who know from Tuesday that they won’t play on Sunday.”
The toughest puzzle is Origi because it also the most expensive. The Belgian earns €4m net per season which costs the club around €5.2m gross, so the amount he earns does not align with the two goals in 36 appearances he scored last season.
An offer from a Saudi club was rejected by the former Liverpool man, but no more have arrived. Origi wants a return to the Premier League where he spent six years of his career, but West Ham and Sheffield United never came forward with an offer.
In terms of the other exits, Real Betis have made contact with Saelemaekers. The player and club have reached an agreement in principle, but a proposal from the LaLiga club is needed, which has not yet arrived. Milan expects to get a figure close to €10m.
Werder Bremen have come forward for Ballo-Touré, but there is no agreement with the Rossoneri on the formula. The German club are pushing for a loan, while Milan would like a permanent transfer.
Verona have asked for information on Caldara, but what discourages the Venetians is the salary of the centre-back which is €2.2m per season.