How Milan have afforded their summer spree and why sales are now vital

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have had the busiest summer transfer window of any top Serie A side and it is not finished yet, but now we move into a crucial period.

The signings made by Milan so far are as follows: Luka Romero and Marco Sportiello on free transfers, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic from Chelsea, Tijanni Reijnders from AZ Alkmaar, Noah Okafor from Red Bull Salzburg and Samuel Chukwueze from Villarrea.

Looking more specifically at the paid-for signings, Loftus-Cheek was the first and he comes for a figure widely reported to be €16m plus bonuses. Pulisic cost €20m as did Reijnders, with Okafor at €14m.

This adds up to €70m, a figure which is significant because it matches the guaranteed sum that Milan made from the club-record sale of Sandro Tonali to Newcastle United.

Where does the money come from for the signing of Chukwueze for €20m plus €8m in bonuses? The answer is that it comes from the budget set out before the Tonali sale, or rather the €35-40m that multiple sources claimed would be made available as a net spend.

The remaining €15-20m of that should go towards the acquisition of the final piece for the midfield which is Yunus Musah from Valencia, but the squad is not yet complete given there are a couple of holes.

A deputy left-back is still being sought and will require paying for unless a loan solution is found. Then a young striker is also believed to be in the pipeline, plus some classic mercato opportunities like another right-back or centre-back may be seized.

This is where the importance of sales comes in, starting with Ante Rebic who is heading for Besiktas in a deal worth €500k plus €1.5m in potential bonuses.

This figure constitutes a capital loss on the accounts but allows Milan to free the almost €10m gross in salary they owe the Croatian for the remainder of his deal.

Junior Messias is instead at the bottom of the ranking of the highest paid players in Stefano Pioli’s squad at just short of €2m gross (€1m net), but Besiktas are also keen on signing him too and his wages would be freed, plus a transfer fee would be involved.

Divock Origi is expected to leave too and on a permanent deal, which would constitute a saving of €15.6m gross when factoring in he will earn €4m net per season until 2026.

Then Fode Ballo-Toure should be sold either on a permanent deal or via an initial loan, and his €1.3m net per season salary would be cut as well.

That cumulative salary saving of just over €28m would allow Milan to then look for the finishing touches to the squad with a bit more margin to operate.

Thanks to Tonali’s sale and with some help from other exits and a lightened wage bill, Giorgio Furlani and Geoffrey Moncada could go to 10 or possibly more additions, and a totally refreshed squad.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Messias, Rebic, Ballo-Toure, and especially Origi will free up a lot once they leave. Origi highlights the dangers of free transfers. They come with very high wages. This is why Milan is reluctant beyond Sportiello to sign anyone on a free. Kamada is asking 5 million, and 5 million for his agent.

    We should also further consider selling other players including Saelasmaekers and Krunic. And yes, I will say Krunic. These two are likely to get more of a transfer fee.

    1. Luka Romero is also from free transfer, not just Sportiello. Romero’s agent also asked 5 million from Lazio.

    2. Selling krunic? Pioli will block that transfer. Krunic are inportant player for pioli tactic , he is versatile & understand pioli tactic more than other player. ACM try hard sign marcus free transfer but failed

  2. Disagree with the numbers here, particularly with the salaries – there are almost no salary savings.
    Basically the salary savings from all outgoing players is offset by the salary of the incoming players (including Musah) if you count until Rebic. There will be some savings with Messias and Origi bt you are in the 6M range not 28M and assumes no other players come in.

    That being said, players are human capital. So the transfer expense is more of a cashflow issue – the players we bought are really worth more than the money spent to get them (masterful what this management has done), which would show up on the balance sheet.

    I was the first skeptic but I can say – oh, now I get it.

  3. My latest count (although it’s almost impossible to keep up with the current squad changes) is that we have a first team squad of 33 including:

    – randomly 4 goal keepers including Vásquez (Do you remember him? That was a worthwhile signing).

    – Caldara! (Another success story of modern football)

    – Ballo-Toure (whilst we continue our bizarre pursuit of a replacement bench warmer for LB – why not just give me the money?)

    – Adli (I look forward to seeing him playing for a team above us in a few years).

    – Pobega (He’s a youth player so must go – if we sell him for 1m we can then buy another player 20m – you know it makes “business” sense because football is a very serious “business”)

    – Krunić (one of the success stories from last season so, like all success stories, you sell him)

    – Saelemaekers (see my previous sarky post);

    – Lazetić (ha ha and imagine anyone actually thought this guy stood a chance! Strikers are the worst! A rule of modern football is that every team has to sign at least 2 strikers every transfer window or 4 strikers a season or 16 every 4 seasons – you know it makes sense);

    – Colombo (a striker and a youth player to boot! Get out!).

    That take us down to 24 (but apparently we’re still trying to sign more players but apparently we need a bigger squad than Man City).

    (Sarcasm alert – again)

    1. Oh my god I’ve actually forgotten to include Junior Messias, CDK and Origi!

      I went from the Wikipedia list and these aren’t listed! Nor is Rebic

      I’ve forgotten players who play for my football team. I’ve forgotten players we only signed a year ago.

      Carry on.

    2. To Maldini’s credit, Vazquez was signed because it was either signing him or losing the nonEU slot.

      BalloToure is not good at all.

      Adli is likely to be a late departure. No reason to keep him.

      The rest of your post is drivel.

      Lazetic was loaned out and failed to get anytime elsewhere.

      Your hate towards the new signings is well noted. You attempt to say you’re being sarcastic but you’re just a fool.

        1. You seem to hate the actual players….

          I don’t criticise players. It’s impossible to judge with this level of turnover.

          Petagna scored at every level at youth level and then suddenly didn’t “make it” (until he did playing for our rivals). Same with Ganz, Cutrone, and so much other wasted talent.

          These are very unique people with incredible abilities and the modern transfer circus is destroying them giving them less job stability than seasonal workers.

          No other sport does this.

          1. Who are the actual players? So Pulisic, Chukwueze, Okafor, etc aren’t actual players?

            Oh my gosh. Who did we sign? Actors?

            Somebody warn Redbird. Our resident clown Hair Lice is onto a conspiracy.

            Petagna never made it anywhere even after being loaned out a ton of times. It happens to prospects who often don’t live up to the potential.

        2. I agree – Pobega’s so ungainly. One time I saw one of our players prancing up the pitch looking awkward and I thought who’s that? Ahh Pobega….

      1. Signing a player just to keep a non-EU spot just about sums up the state of modern football.

        I preferred when pointless signings were some star player’s brother or cousin!

        I don’t hate the players, I hate the game.

        I now need to get to know and love a whole new set of players (many of whom might not be around in year’s time).

        I suppose it’s the age of Tinder.

        1. It’s a bureaucratic rule by FIGC.

          You’re a really sad delusional person. You can always reach out help from a therapist.

          1. Again I’m perfectly calm.

            I’m so calm that if these new signings struggle I’ll calmly keep supporting them.

            You will not see me on here criticising the players who play for my team because, erm, fans generally support their teams and teams consist of players…..

            You are very sure of yourself. Just be careful when those certainties don’t work out. I don’t want to see you back here criticising my players….

          2. You really need to deal with your passive aggressive attitude by talking to someone. I’m serious.

            I’m very sure of myself? The irony levels are off the charts with you.

    3. Vasquez will be sold, his sole role of keeping non-EU spot from being lost last season has been fulfilled, now it’s time to use that spot for new players.

  4. But we need to pray that new arrival will work.

    We can witness now how is hard to sell flop players. That’s warning how player who don’t fit in 1 year in Ac squad will become loss investment.
    We can’t sell Caldara Rebic etc for regular fee. De Ketelaere can’t be sold for even 20 mil.
    So club also must be careful by selling best players..

    1. Spot on lmao 😂
      That guy is good enough to start for any club in the world. We will definitely revert back to 4-2-3-1. In that way both Pulisic and Chuk can start.

        1. If Musah can’t immediately play as a regista and we don’t get Dominguez or Hjulmund then it will be back to a 4-2-3-1 with Reijnders as playmaker and the Musah/RLC/Krunic for the two man midfield.
          Pioli will not play till January with only Krunic as the pivot without Bennacer.

      1. That’s fantasy Football Doki. Even though it sounds spectacular with the best teams Pulisic can’t be the playmaker as he offers nothing in defense and we will be overrun in Midfield just like last year with Diaz.
        Reijnders will take that position if Pioli deploys a 4-2-3-1 ,as he offers pressing, marking and tackling that you need in today’s modern football.

        1. The problem is we only play 4-3-3 on paper. Pioli would 100% revert back to 4-2-3-1 as he promised Pulisic game time and pretty sure someone like him will play on the bench.

  5. I actually have a feeling Okafor will surprise. He seems eager and motivated while expressing big love for AC Milan. Also, he came cheap so he’s not that big of a risk.

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