SM Exclusive: Longo explains why Bennacer-level ‘sacrifice’ is more likely than a huge sale

By Oliver Fisher -

Daniele Longo has shared with us his thoughts regarding AC Milan’s player trading strategy and whether he expects a big sale to be made in the upcoming summer window.

Perhaps the best example of the idea was Sandro Tonali’s sale to Newcastle United last summer. It was painful for a lot of fans from a sentimental point of view, but the management received an offer that constituted a club-record fee and knew they could rebuild the squad with it.

We spoke to Daniele Longo of as part of our ‘Meeting the Milan Media’ series over on Substack and he shed light on a number of interesting topics, including his day-to-day work and how he developed a passion for what he does.

As part of it, we asked the journalist for his thoughts on Milan’s player trading approach, i.e. selling big players every now and then to fund several targeted signings.

“I was born with the genius of Savicevic and the creativity of Boban, with Weah’s red shoes. A football that no longer exists. Back then, presidents spent a lot out of pure passion rather than for personal gain,” he said.

“I’m more for the good game than the result, more Ancelotti than Allegri. However, we live in a world where we often talk about ‘sustainability’, a fundamental factor in today’s football. The positive thing is that Milan no longer necessarily have to sell in order to finance the mercato

“I believe that the risk of this strategy – in principle – is that it can take you up to a medium-high level but not beyond. Milan, for example, is a healthy team which was able to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, no more. In that sense, the gap from the top four in Europe is still enormous and difficult to fill with this ‘sell to buy’ strategy.

“Having said that, Milan’s will is and will not be to sell the strongest players. I can assure you that the Rossoneri don’t need to sell Theo, Leao or Maignan to settle the coffers. Given the need to sign a striker of €50-60m in the summer, though, it’s clear that some sacrifices will have to be made. But they don’t have to be big ones.

“For example, a sacrifice on Bennacer’s level is more likely, a player who has given so much and one that Milan appreciate a lot. However, today he’s not as fundamental as the three aforementioned players. If an offer of €50m were to arrive for Bennacer, and one of €60m for Theo, I’m sure that Milan would negotiate to sell the Algerian.”


Tags AC Milan


  1. -a- no one will offer 50 mill for Bennacer. I’d sit on the negotiating table even if we are offered 30 mill
    -b- if we buy Amrabat or another DM, I see Bennacer as the likely one to be sold, especially if Adli is able to keep growing.

    Frankly Bennacer has stalled in his growth (don’t know if due to injuries or something else, but he gave his best performances in the 2-3 months prior to his new contract.

    He remains an important player in our team but his skill is not always enough for an AM role and his defensive filter is not always enough for a DM role. Overall his performances over the past 12 months have been so-so.

    Don’t see many teams that would offer him 4+ million that he got from us when his contract was about to expire.

    1. Injuries did him dirty. A player who does get injured as often and for as long as Bennacer does will pretty much always see a decline in performance and sees his growth being stalled. Why does Bennacer always gets injured ? I believe it’s a combination of our physical preparation team, his body being injury prone and his playing style.
      His best performances were linked to Kessie. Having Kessie, a physical specimen beside him allowed him to push forward more often and focus on playmaking. Neither Tonali in 22/23 nor Reijnders or Adli did provide the cover Kessie was providing and Bennacer was always tasked to being as much of a DM as an AM.
      He is a player I liked very much when he was in good shape, but truth has to be said, with so many players currently in our midfield and his performance having dropped combined with his tendencies to miss many games, selling him should be considered.

    2. I wouldn’t be opposed to selling Bennacer.

      I’ve actually never really rated him because he holds onto the ball too long in midfield. I actually preferred Krunic who was far more efficient in moving the ball.

      He has popped up with some crucial goals over the years, and he’s one of our longest serving players, and a 19’er, so it’d be big loss in that sense.

      As for Adli he’s genuinely the only player at the club right now who I can’t abide. I’ve never seen a human being think and move as slowly as he does.

      We need a solid DM to play alongside probably Reijnders. I think we should prioritise that over an AM and keep going with RLC.

  2. No-one is going to offer 50m for Bennacer after the last year. He probably has decent value and a sale would make sense because the midfield options might need a refresh, but he won’t command that fee.

  3. Can’t believe I’m reading this. Bennacer is a world class player. He’s as crucial to us as Theo and Rafa. I’d sooner sacrifice Mike than Bennacer. We can’t change the bloody midfield every season. It’s the most important part of the team.

    Redbird are just talking cr@p. If we no longer need to sell to fund the Mercato then Rafa and Theo can be unsellable, so why not come out and say it? Whey sell for selling sake?

    1. Lost us at world class lol 😂 he’s good though. Not taking that away from him

      “Redbird are just talking cr@p. If we no longer need to sell to fund the Mercato then Rafa and Theo can be unsellable, so why not come out and say it? Whey sell for selling sake?”
      Redbird doesn’t have money. They need outside investment to take the team to the next level. Otherwise it’s self funding transfer windows from here on end

      1. I think people rate him because he dribbles but half the time he’s dribbling in the wrong areas of the pitch (e.g. in defence) and he also holds onto the ball too long in transition which slows down our attacks.

        We need a Carrick in there who can offer defensive cover and move the ball quickly and efficiently and feed Leao, RLC and Pulisic early.

        1. No people rate him because of his aggression, workrate, stamina and technical ability. Not my words, the words of Jurgen Klopp

        2. I think he gets rated because his defensive skills though not the best is still far beyond anyone else and that says alot about our issues in the middle

      2. How does outside investment work with FFP? It has to be self generated right? They’ve come out and made the claim that the club doesn’t need to sell players in order to fund the Mercato so therefore we don’t need to sell Theo and Rafa and your statement is null and void?

        When at peak form and fully fit, yes I believe Bennacer is a world class midfielder

        1. I said outside investment, where’s the falsehood in that? Isn’t Gerry looking for a buyer in the middle east or not? These guys fund clubs through intermediary companies (eg. Etihad sponsoring naming rights to City for ridiculous money and that counts as revenue for FFP). Not sure if you got that gist or agreeing lol 😂
          The only way we fund the transfer window are through revenues and/or through player sales. With our abysmal run in the UCL, we probably won’t have as much in the summer. And to get us to the next level we need a few more Pulisics lol. Imo if they get anything close to a nice sum for any player they’ll probably sell. We don’t hv the money (or ambition?) to hold on to players anymore

      1. For prem money. He’s a 50-60m player easily. I know Liverpool and arsenal have shown interest and he improves United no end

    1. Amen buddy…

      people forget Bennacer has had injuries and lack of game time. Memories are short. He’s world class in my view. Perhaps not at this very moment due to a duo in form but he’s a crucial player.

    1. My own very best Benaccer the master minder of the midfield I love him so much is just because of injury but he’s the best in that midfield

  4. Why not sell Loftus ? Bennacer is still our best mid. I dont see any one from the other mids being on his level when he is fully fit. As for his injuries, somehow he is not the only one who gets injured often in this team. So maybe its the way they train and not the induvidual players. Any way if i have to chose i would rather sell him and Mike rather then Theo/Leao.

  5. You guys are crazy !!!!!!
    Please dont think with dick but try with brain

    Most part of this season, he is injured( 1 guy said he is playing very bad last 12months where he played a little)

    And for the last 2months, its the first time he is playing with current midfield players and after long injury, how can you assess so quickly ?

    Everyone speaks about Kessie, as he kept the clean sheets. Yes, his best season was with bennacer as tandem but the skills of these 2players complimenting each other that made them success, covering each other backs.
    And for your info, we won scudetto with Tonali and Bennacer as tandem , Kessie as attacking midfielder. Bennacer have better skills as defensive, passing range and Kessie for physicality and final 3rd either penalties or running behind striker.

    Only bennacer have better defensive skills, than all midfielders in the team.

    1. “Please dont think with d*ck but try with brain”

      So basically you’re suggesting people commenting here are g@ys, eh? I have to say I wasn’t expecting that. 😀

      PS. Censor-issues…

  6. Bennacer will thrive in a team that stays compact and close to each other, a team that plays in small spaces, he has a neat leg, milan’s team is always stretched and favours only players that can run long distances at top speeds with the ball, he will do well in laliga and the top 6-8 english clubs that keep it compact, if we are ever to change a coach to a more european one, one of the players he will ask to be kept around is bennacer, and things will change for some of the players who are performing well under pioli, different teams different coaches and the same players perform differently, bennacer is clearly not a pioli kind of player, leao is, theo is, RLC is, pulisic is grinding it, not sure if it will be for long, chukwueze is not, my opinion though, i might be wrong

  7. Yeah a Bennacer sale would be okay with me, maybe selling Bennacer and kalulu would be fine with me if we are gonna sign a quality defensive midfielder and a top class striker

  8. It really is crazy how fanbase changed over the course of 25 years since I’ve been a fan of Milan. Sure I understand generations are different but nowadays kids are only after quick fashion trends, cheap entertaiment and have no patience. Folks nowadays get tired or bored of stuff in a second like they’re bipolar or something.

    Bennacer is our only midfielder actually using his brain. We’ve only been a bit more stable in the midfield since his return. Before we saw only headless running and chasing down the field with no build up or positioning or any kind of plan at all.

  9. And then then there is the third way: keeping Bennacer and still reinforcing. Why is this a choice? We will have 50M from CL qualification = Sesko/Zirkzee/Gyokeres, 45M from selling CDK, Salad, Colombo and Maldini = Buongiorno at 30M, and leaves 15M plus 5M “extra” for Amrabat, or if the club doesn’t want to go that extra mile, 10M for Walace and 5M to the bank for the next window. Done. Bennacer can stay in the rotation.

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