Alexis Saelemaekers arrived at Milan in January and initially struggled, not getting much playing time before the league was suspended. However, he has since become a crucial player for Stefano Pioli’s side.
The Rossoneri signed him on a paid loan from Anderlecht, worth €3.5m and also including a €3.5m buy-out clause. Due to the league suspension, it seemed he would be heading back to Belgium but Paolo Maldini decided to trigger the clause.
It turned out to be a very good decision, as Saelemaekers has improved significantly over the last few months. If he looked insecure at the start, that certainly isn’t the case now as he works hard for the team and adds value in both phases.
In an interview with Europa Calcio, the 21-year-old’s personal coach Jean François Lenvain spoke about the transfer and also revealed that Pioli has followed Saelemaekers since his days at Fiorentina.
“I’ve known Alexis for three years, I helped him a lot in being able to combine football and school. When he left Anderlecht he asked me to continue coaching him, I always try to pass on to him the culture of sport, not just football.
“The move to Milan was fantastic, for him it is incredible to play in a reality like the Rossoneri, unique in world football. He always works to the maximum to deserve the trust of Milan and of the coach Pioli, who already observed him when he was at Fiorentina.
“For Alexis, who wants to grow and improve more and more, the coach’s advice is very important. I would add that during the lockdown in March and April he worked hard to be physically ready when the championship resumed,” he stated.