Journalist Luca Serafini believes that the AC Milan management are willing to raise the previously established internal salary cap, but it might not guarantee the renewal of two star players.
Ismael Bennacer and Rafael Leao both arrived at Milan in the summer of 2019 from Empoli and Lille respectively, and both have gone on to establish themselves as arguably the two most important players in the side at present along with other core pieces like Mike Maignan, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez, Sandro Tonali and others.
However, both of them have a contract expiring in June 2024 and have not yet agreed a renewal, leading to speculation that they could be sold amid reported interest from several top European clubs.
Serafini spoke in a column for MilanNews about the situation relating to the midfielder and the winger, suggesting that the club will do what they can financially but they need an opening from the players.
“Paolo Maldini speaks from Dubai and says things. As happens to those who sip words and public thoughts. Ambitions, first of all: we are Milan and we cannot be satisfied with a Scudetto. Focal point, which also sheds some light on present and future market strategies. Ambitions combined with balance, in order not to have a bad end and indeed always grow a little,” he began.
“These choices, even if Maldini makes no references, include renewals and it is normal that you think about strengthening a squad starting from the strongest you already have at home.
“There has been no doubt that Milan are willing to raise the famous salary ceiling for the last two years: they offered 8 million net to Donnarumma, 5 to the Turkish [Calhanoglu], 6 to Kessie, now double the salary of Bennacer and quintuple that of Leao.
“To get married it takes two, since the world began: the dowry is important, it’s rich, it certifies the desire to keep them. But if the players think only of being richer and not at the centre of an ambitious project, there’s nothing that can be done.
“There is a limit to raises: in contracts you never go all-in except on one side. That party that sits down at the table after the game has started, loads the pot with unsustainable stakes, then he gets up and leaves with the loot.”