Reports: €50m Milan midfielder could follow Pioli to Saudi Arabia

By Oliver Fisher -

The news that Stefano Pioli’s next job will be in Saudi Arabia has surprised some, and now reports are claiming that Ismael Bennacer could follow him.

Over the last 24 hours the news has emerged that Stefano Pioli has decided to accept and offer Al-Ittihad, a team in the Saudi Pro League that has players of the calibre of Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kanté in the squad.

The former Milan coach – who will first have to terminate his deal with the Rossoneri – will sign a three-year contract with the Arab club and will throw himself into a totally new adventure for his coaching career. It will also be his first experience abroad.

Both Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanNews) this morning also reported that Pioli’s arrival in Jeddah could be of further interest to Milan because he could want to target some of his former players.

Ismael Bennacer, who has a release clause of €50m, could be one of the main suspects. The Algerian midfielder is very close to the Parma-born coach and he shed tears on the day of his farewell at San Siro. Lately Bennacer has also reportedly opened up to the idea of a move to Saudi Arabia.

Tags AC Milan Ismaël Bennacer


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  1. Hypothetically (not saying I like it or that it would happen) i could go like this:
    -Sell Bennacer for 50M€ then use it to get Fofana (20M€) AND one of Wieffer/Hojbjerg/Hjulmand/… (30M€)
    -Sell Thiaw for 40M€, add few bucks and get Calafiori.
    -With the budget pretty much still intact, get a high value striker. We can even get Gyokeres at this point.
    -Renew to Theo, Maignan and even get Rabiot if you want.
    Now time to get out of the drugs.

    1. This. Only an idiot would object to this plan. Too bad Milan is actually run by idiots so… When again was the stadium supposed to be ready and the club will be finally sold? Oh right… Maybe I’ll just start using drugs to get by until that day comes. F’ng nightmare.

      1. Juve and Napoli have already strengthened their teams considerably. And Milan? Royal f*ng Royal. FFS. We’re doomed. Yes. This is dooming&glooming but for a good reason. Our management is incompetent.

        1. Why everyone are scared of Juve and Napoli. Okey in the case of both clubs it look’s like they make a move and buy a players. But still both club completely rebuild their squad . Juve lost Rabiot and need to sell all of their stars (Chiesa, Gatti,Rugani,Kostic and another players, even Vlahovic because of his wages) for money to buy another players like Koominers. Their seasson will be interesting but it is Hard to sey if it will be better then our. Same with Napoli, they lost Zielinski and Kwara with Osimhen want to go ( same with Lobotka who wait for offer from stronger Club). And Napoli don’t have money for new players too..
          Now only Inter is still the strongest tea. In the league..
          If this lazy management buy a good striker, we are okey for this seasson ( of course if Fonseca’s tactics are good 😀😀)

          1. “If this lazy management buy a good striker, we are okey for this seasson ( of course if Fonseca’s tactics are good 😀😀)”

            Well… It doesn’t seem to happen though. We’ll get a panic buy at the ending hours of the mercato. Again.

    2. -Bologna would rather sell Calafiori abroad, and Arsenal are close to get him
      -Hjulmand is at least worth 45m, and playing for Sporting. Portuguese clubs aren’t quite cheap either when selling players

    3. Bennacer won’t be sold on 50m, maybe 35m.
      we will get Fofana for 20M and sadly will buy Emerson.
      Thiaw won’t be sold above 30M .. we wish.

      Calafiori would cost at least 50M.

    4. Wieffer is one step away from Brighton according to Romano and Calafiori is really close to Arsenal. So this is not going to happen.

      1. “So this is not going to happen.”
        That’s why I need to get of whatever drugs I’m using.
        But honestly there is no reason to lose a player to freaking Brighton. We play in the UCL and are by far a bigger club and a better team. If Wieffer choses Brighton instead of us, that tells you a lot about his ambitions.

    5. Absolutely this…. We had allegedly 100m prior to sales and we could make 80m from thiaw and bennacer… 180m for 4 positions gets us Buongiorno/Calafiori, Wieffer and potentially Rabiot then a striker and a RB

      If rabiot comes then there’s an argument to sell Aldi too.

      Your post makes 100% sense buddy

    6. I honestly don’t understand the fuss around Fofana.
      The guy might be good, but Wieffer definitely fulfills the requirements that we need waaay more than Fofana.
      Secondly, while Gyokeres might be good, instead of getting a striker who puts in numbers, we need someone who participates in building, and opens space for Leao and Pulisic. That’s why I think Zirkzee and Lukaku are.. unfortunately.. the only profiles that perfectly fit this team.
      Thirdly, I love the idea of Calafiori, or we can even bring Buongiorno (though he’s more likely to need more time to adapt than Calafiori). But instead of selling Thiaw, I would happily sell Tomori.
      Lastly, while I understand people’s concern about Bennacer’s injury record, I think the quality he provides is much higher than Reijnders, Loftus-Cheek or any other midfielder.

      But yeah.. generally, your head is in the right direction. Your ideas aren’t bad at all.

      1. I said Fofana AND Wieffer/Hojbjerg/…. Fofana is indeed not a true DM, but supposedly we lose Bennacer, he can be an ideal box-to-box. But even with Fofana, a DM should still be goten.
        Supposedly we get all that money, which will give us 80M€ for a striker alone, why go fo Zirkzee while we can get a better player overall with no Kia. Gyokeres is also capable of playing deep, helping in the buildup, is very strong,…
        But overall, I don’t think either Bennacer or Thiaw are going anywhere this summer, at least not for the price advertised.

  2. If we sell Bennacer and Thiaw (which I can see happening), plus all the loanees from last year, and we don’t then go and spend something around £150m, I’m getting off the fence.

    1. Aroud 150? I don’t think so. Who do you think they want to buy? They are willing to spend maximum around 40m € for the player (only Zirkzee) and then there are players like Royal(18m), Leite(20m),Rabiot(7m for 3 years) Fofana(20m)… I think they don’t want to spend more then 80/90m. This is the reason why they still don’t buy no one…
      I think first management need to know how much money they need to spend on striker, after then they will look to another players

  3. It appears that one of Milan’s strategy is to let the mercato get under way in order to everyone’s real value and which team is willing to pay what for who.
    Surprisingly, the big spenders in England, Spain, and Germany have been quiet. That could be a good thing for mid market teams such as Milan in that it could bring all available player’s price down or the available pool of talent is not worth spending on.
    That being said, the lack of high level interests and bidding wars can strengthen Milan’s hands in negotiations, both from the stand point of keeping the players they have and getting the players they want.
    The agents will start getting desperate if we don’t see a lot of signings in the next few days.

      1. This. Plus the closer you get to the season starting the prices go back up on the basis that the selling club has less time to find a replacement…

    1. That does make sense but it comes with some drawbacks. Waiting means losing some good targets that will go elsewhere.
      And while agents can get desperate, if we wait too long, teams and agents will know that we won’t have many options and will be in no obligations to accomodate us.

  4. Saudis can pay more than anybody above asking price so if they want Bennacer we can get more than €50m even.

    Selling Thiaw, as someone suggested earlier, might be too early. On the other hand if we really can get Gyökeres then go for it!

    Giving Maignan and Theo a good salary will keep the team healthy. Add Fofana and Gyökeres with some defenders and we can be on our way to rebuild with Fonseca.

    I don’t think the above will happen though haha.

    1. his release clause is 50 mil in the first 2 weeks of July as the article also says and even though the Saudis can pay more I doubt they will play the waiting game before that ends.

      Gyokeres will cost 75 mil or above so I doubt that is in anyway feasible or that the the management would pay such fee for any players currently.

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