SM Exclusive: Milan hold talks with Atalanta over Scalvini – how the deal could work

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are making plans for the summer transfer window and one of their priorities is to sign a centre-back. We can reveal some information regarding a name that has entered the crosshairs.

While there are still a few crucial weeks remaining in the current campaign which will determine how the 2023-24 season is viewed by Milan fans, the management have no choice but to begin planning for the future already.

If you haven’t already, you should check out our latest Substack post which uses concrete facts and figures to determine what the budget should be for the summer mercato, and why it is so fluid. Also, our Substack subscribers got early access to this story last night.

An area to fix

Milan’s defensive department is the one that has been under the most stress this season, with a number of different injuries plunging Stefano Pioli’s side into an emergency at multiple points.

Simon Kjaer is on an expiring contract and is likely to part ways with the club, while Pierre Kalulu and Malick Thiaw have also attracted interest elsewhere.

So, who will arrive to bolster the rearguard? As we have learned, the Rossoneri are currently studying a swap deal of sorts with Atalanta.

It’s not exactly a secret that Geoffrey Moncada and Antonio D’Ottavio are evaluating several centre-backs ahead of the summer window, and will be keeping their options open.

Some links are more concrete than others, of course, and Alessandro Buongiorno has fallen into the former category as of late. Another name that Milan fans should keep an eye on is Giorgio Scalvini, who is on the radar of all top clubs in Italy.

A shining star

Milan have previously expressed their interest in the 20-year-old and this summer, an attempt could be made given the ‘Charles De Ketelaere’ factor, as we have learned.

The Belgian playmaker has been a huge success for the Bergamo side this summer and his €22m clause is bound to be paid. This is a figure that could rise due to bonuses, which is partly why an alternative solution could emerge.

Indeed, Scalvini could become an important pawn for Atalanta in the De Ketelaere negotiations, knowing that Milan are looking to sign a centre-back.

The Bergamo side also know that Scalvini wants to make the leap to a bigger side and are thus already planning to sign a replacement. The latter is important, as Gian Piero Gasperini has made it clear that a replacement is needed before any departure.

Funnily enough La Dea went for Buongiorno last summer and thus potentially tried to get Scalvini’s heir in before he left, but the Torino man said no.

Initial talks take place

In recent days, as we have learned, Milan held the first contact with Atalanta’s sporting director Tony D’Amico to discuss De Ketelaere’s redemption. Surprisingly, when the Scalvini idea was floated, the La Dea management expressed a willingness to evaluate such an operation.

While these would be separate deals on the balance sheet, Milan’s potential signing of Scalvini would effectively wipe the CDK transfer fee for Atalanta, and for a club that have always been attentive to their balance sheet this should not be underestimated.

Scalvini, given his young age and impressive performances in recent years, has a price tag of around €40-45m and the inclusion of De Ketelare could drop the price tag to €15-20m. These are ball-park figures, of course, but the important thing to know is that Milan are tempted by this solution.

Furthermore, the Rossoneri already have an excellent relationship with Scalvini’s agent Tullio Tinti, who also has Matteo Gabbia as a client. Gabbia returned from his loan at Villarreal in January and has very quickly become a key man.

The only doubt is the centre-back’s position, having mainly played in a three-man backline under Gasperini’s guidance. On the other hand, he’s still very young (and talented) so the feeling is that this wouldn’t be an issue in the long run.

Moncada and D’Ottavio have thus put him high up on their wish list, with a new meeting expected towards the end of the season to further investigate the feasibility.

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere Giorgio Scalvini


  1. This would be awesome. Scalvini could be a pillar of our defence for the best part of a decade, similar to when we signed Nesta (no I don’t expect him to be anywhere as good as Nesta)

    Also an Italian and presumably not crazy high wages. This transfer is too sensible so we won’t do it. More likely he ends up at a PL club, or f*cking Inter

    1. Ha ha chances of anyone playing for Milan for a decade…

      Why don’t we back the CBs we have rather than finding different ways to show two fingers to Gabbia?

      1. Oh I dunno, maybe because Thiaw makes huge errors every match and cannot be trusted at all, Kalulu is always injured, Kjaer won’t be extended and Pellegrino has no future with us. Simic will be loaned out because Pioli says “he’s not ready”.

        We can’t go on with just 2 CBs next season. Especially if Pioli the Butcher is in charge and using his “effective rotations” to pile up more injuries.

  2. If we don’t fix our DM role, we could sign 6 Tiago Silva’s and we’d still be leaking goals. It’s not rocket science, it’s just how it is. I stand by my word that the defenders are not the issue, with the way Gabbia defends with his life you’d think we won’t conceded, but we do. Buy a proper DM and case solved.

      1. Signing another CB will only cause confusion and encourage more rotation.

        CBs don’t need to be rotated because they do the least running.

        Chiellini and Bonucci regularly hit 45 plus games a season when Juve were challenging on all fronts.

        They weren’t even that great defenders especially Bonucci.

        They just played together a lot and had a really good GK behind them (in the case of Milan, check) and a really good midfield in front of them (what’s missing at Milan).

        We need to stop fiddling and give these players hundreds of games together. That is the only way we’ll reach the levels of the great sides.

        1. It may cause confusion but never encourage rotation as long as Pioli is coach. Once he fits in, the other defenders can kiss football goodbye. I just feel sorry for Gabbia and Simic.

          1. Pioli does rotate but just in the wrong way.

            He regularly subs off CBs for some reason and when he does rotate he does it on mass.

        2. Man Chiellini was a great defender. But I agree with your points, team may not need a new defender. With all the criticism towards Thiaw I’d still use him, Gabbia and Tomori as the three main CBs. I like Kalulu but his unavailability is a problem (only reason I may consider a new CB). You’ve Kalulu Simic and Kjaer to choose one/two more from to complete the department.
          One may say the team needs better quality defenders. Of course it’s nice to have better but you’ve to pay money! And I think we can reasonably manage what we’ve. Our defenders are not as bad as the defense. You need a better defending/playing system more than better defenders. Whenever Milan plays well the team has less trouble at the back or at least scored more than the opposition. Problem is that the team in general wasn’t playing well when the defense was bad. Of course the opponent ,even Lecce ,will also have their say at the expense of your defense. I’ve seen Real Madrid Liverpool Man city defenses being shaky a few times in matches and in fact regularly conceding goals. Only thing is ,they do most things better than the opposition to a high degree tho. Imagine the wonderful run to the end of the scudetto season we’ve had with Calabria Kalulu Tomori Theo. They shouldn’t be better individual defenders than now, if anything should have improved. And no it wasn’s solely because of Kessie as I’ve seen people making it out to be. Kessie wasn’t even playing infront of the defense but behind the striker. His contributions to that defense is been a bit overrated by some. That team was just courageous and simply playing as a team in less predictable tactics.

          1. I was harsh on Chiellini but he wouldn’t have made it at Milan because we’d have kept signing new defenders and causing confusion.

            The summer we did sign Bonucci we unfortunately also signed Musacchio and already had Romagnoli.

            All good defenders.

            But because we had 3 of them for 2 positions we failed to build a consistent CB pairing and, in Bonucci, we turned a serial Scudetto winner into a loser before he returned to being a Scudetto and Euro winner again with Juve.

            Bonucci is a text book example of a player who only thrived in very specific conditions. And that probably says a lot more about Chiellini’s ability than anything!

    1. Indeed. I said myself many times before, we can have all the defenders if this world but that wouldn’t solve our issue which is leaky midfield.

    2. Dave you said it and that’s the reality who ever we bring in defense we will still struggle without proper dm or destroyer

    3. I think Scalvini has played a few games as DM as well. Not sure we’d spend 40+ mill if we are buying a DM, but it doesn’t hurt (iirc Ancelotti used Sergio Ramos a few times as a DM)

      My main concern is that Atalanta is not a cheap place. They used to have a 50+ million price on Scalvini, but now it’s dropped to 40-45(?), and his contract expires in 2028 since it was renewed last summer.
      Not sure why but it is a bit suspicious that they would lower the price for Scalvini unless they have another Primavera player waiting to take his turn.

    4. I hope they sign Cesare Casadei as our DM and CM italian prospect player. He showed somewhat like Kessie replacement in next couple seasons

  3. I would expect scalvini to fetch atalanta minimum 60 mil euros so i would take this rumor with a grain of salt but if its actually feasible i would nevertheless be very happy to see him in red and black.

    1. Kessie did a very good job for Milan, that danish striker United paid over 70 mil is doing alright so I say that most of Atalanta big transfers did a decent job

        1. On word: injuries.

          And another few words – why did we sign Conti when we had Calabria?

          And why are we looking at a CB when we have Gabbia?

          Why can’t we just back the players we have rather than constantly looking for the next opportunity like some dodgy estate agent cheating on their wife?

          1. You don’t know the overall plan. You just get upset at assumptions you made up in your head.

            Maybe they’re planning to offload Kjaer and Kalulu. Then it makes sense to pick up a strong, young centre back.

            There, I did the complicated thinking for you.

            Building a team isn’t just to get players you think are good enough and then let the summer for 8 years together. It’s a constantly evolving puzzle.

          2. @ Milan 905

            a) I was referring to past events (Conti/Calabria) so I think we can see how that worked out – we wasted money on Conti and Calabria became our established RB by accident.

            b) I am also referring to the present where – low and behold – Gabbia has become our established CB by…….accident.

            c) I am using the past and the present to make assumptions about the future i.e. how assumptions should be made…,

            Why do you feel so strongly about my post that you’re responding to it?

            I’ve not criticised any player. I’m merely questioning (TRIGGER WARNING) the transfer market!

            Oh the humanity, will someone please think of the transfer market.

          3. “why did we sign Conti when we had Calabria?”

            Because every good team needs (at least) two starting-level players for each position. And Conti was one of the best RBs if not the best prior his move to Milan. Upgrades are always welcome. On paper at least.

  4. I don’t want to jinx anything but there was a certain young sought after defender in Atalanta which we paid heavily for but turned out as one of worst transfer ever.


    So, if they accept CdK and 15 to 20 millions, I’m all for it. But I highly doubt Atalanta would be willing to do so. They’ll most probably demand minimum CdK and 30 millions.

    1. Well theres always a risk that a transfer isnt successfull but we also got donadoni in atalanta who certainly was a great success for the club.

      I would also be surprised if they only valuates scalvini at 40-45 mil.

    2. There was also Conti who was almost as big as a flop as caldara. But these are both unrelated to Scalvini. The guy seems legit from what I saw of him.

      1. Conti was good, winning Serie A fullback of the season with Atalanta before Milan bought him. He was Theo of the RB that season at Atalanta with 8 goals and 5 assists in 33 games. Two consecutive injures to same knee f’d his career up.

  5. Oh this is too good to be true. I refuse to get my expectations high, but he would be my top CB option given he’s Italian as well

  6. I like Scalvini, but they’re negotiating for the wrong Atalanta player in “exchange”. They need to be talking about Scamacca. There are many CBs that fit our identikit, some even coming off their contracts this summer (so will be free transfers). Instead, few strikers meet our criteria and are affordable, and Scamacca is one of them. Get Scamacca, sort CB out with someone else.

    1. Agree. I wrote on the other post that if they want to replace Giroud with similar characteristics striker than Scamacca should be considered.

      This Scalvini report is just media jibberish imo. There’s higher probability they are indeed negotiating for Scamacca.

    2. I’d make a case for ederson. If lord P stays and we play 4231 Ederson is what we need in the pivot with Tijani.
      ST will sort itself out. Someone will step up.
      With Ederson covering the cbs we wouldn’t even need to get a cb, maybe someone for rotation thats all

      1. Can Walace or Amrabat do the job for 1/3-1/2 of the price? Remember we have a budget and three positions to fill/upgrade along the spine of the side.

        1. They can, but it’s better to have real quality if we wanna challenge for titles. Plus snatching him makes it so opposition don’t get him.

          We will upgrade one of the 3 and fill the other 2. Might as well finish the midfield properly

    3. Scamaca isn’t milan level he is just another cutrone nothing special on him he is just Atlanta Torino level player we need better player than scamaca

      1. Another Cutrone?

        I’d take another Cutrone any day.

        He cleared the ball against Cagliari and ran the length of the pitch to get to the end of a cross!

        The man bled red and black. It is one of the greatest tragedies of our time that MALDINI pushed him out.

        He and Scammaca were very good for the Italy junior teams and then miraculously suffered a form of amnesia and ‘forgot’ how to play football.

        Or was it that they were crowded out by misguided transfers?

        I mean who doesn’t remember Piątek?

        1. Maldini pushed him out? Greatest tragedies??? LOL!!! Milan sold Cutrone for considerably more than he was worth. It was a great piece of business from the club in selling him at a high.

        2. I might remember incorrectly but wasn’t Cutrone let go off to allow for Leao to set in ?
          If that’s the case we can definitely say it worked out.
          And Cutrone isn’t doing that great nowadays.

        3. A) Cutrone was overrated AF.
          B) you should bow down to anyone who got us 18M for him

          C) Piatek was good but with the change in style, obviously he didn’t make the cut. Can’t ask a bomber to be a build up striker, it will always fail.

    4. When we last discussed Scamacca he was sitting on 15 starts for Atalanta (all comps) for a return of 10 goals and 2 assists (its really 3 but I’ll keep it simple). That was just over 1,000 min of game time for an average of 66 min per appearance. It’s equates to a contribution every 84 min.

      The one time he started for Italy, he scored.

      Guess what? He just started again and scored again in about 55 min of game time against Cagliari. No penalties and no tap ins.

      Gasperini has been brutal to bring the player out if Scamacca that scores or assists each time he starts.

      He’s a better player than Zirkzee. He’s just as good in the build up but much more leathal as a finisher.

      It’s taken Zirkzee, who I like, by the way, almost twice Scamacca’s game total game time (I.e. not just Scamacca’s starts) to have essentially the same numbers (last time I checked he was a few contributions ahead). It has taken him almost 2.5 more minutes if you base it on starts only.

      Yes Scamacca started 2024 like a busted sphincter. But he was coming back from injury and it’s not consistent with the rest of his season.

      1. This is indeed an excellent case for Scamacca. The thing to consider however is that he plays in a 3-4-3 having another striker beside him. How well do you think is he gonna do if he is the sole striker in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 ?

        1. He scored 16 goals as a sole 9 in a front 3 for Sassuolo 2 season ago, so, in short, no it’s not an issue.

          But I’d go further because even though he is playing in front 2 he is always the #9. It is Lookam, CDK or Miranchuk who is playing as the support striker.

          The potential limitation on the member of the front 2 playing as a lone 9 is on the support striker not the main man.

          The query is whether the 9 has the physicality to deal with the increased attention in a front 3. He’s otherwise got to play as a false 9. Watch Scamacca’s games this season against Inter (Oct/Nov last year in Bergamo), Juventus about a month ago (where he really troubled Bremer), against Napoli (where he bullied JJ and Rachmani) and even just this week against Cagliari (where he bullied Dossena who is a very physical CB even if he has his limitations).

          He’ll have no issue playing as a lone 9. In our system he’d be Grioud who can hold the ball up, contribute to the build up and shoot the ball from range. We would know ourselves with a functional 9.

    1. Then just step it up and get Scamacca, Scalvini and Ederson for CDK + 50m euro. We got 2 Italians and our problems solved.

    2. Agree Ederson is a gun but for a player with his skill set and level of performance he’ll cost EU30-40m.

      The secret has been out for quite a while now.

  7. This is too good to be true for me until it happens.

    I still hold the view that at least fans do not fully understand what they have on their hands with Scalvini.

    He’s a 20.5 year old who has been a staple in a top 6 side, playing Europa league, and around the Italy squad for 1.5 years now. An impressive feat and something that leads me to believe he has a head like Maldini on his shoulders (in addition to having the technical quality of a midfielder like Maldini did).

    But his feat is that much more impressive when you look at:

    1. His size. At 196cm he is very tall, top few percent for players, including keepers. Contrary to what appears to me to be the common understanding height is not initially an advantage. It takes more time to build muscle mass and to then learn to carry it. This is why taller players tend to be later bloomers. On the subject of his body, he is a big, powerful boy, unlike say Bastoni. He’s got broad shoulders and big hips and legs. He’s more Buongiorno but bigger still and with a much better turn of speed (that will improve as he matures in the next 24 months).

    2. His technical quality and tactical flexibility that sees him asked to play complicated counter attacking and high risk pressing/anticipation of opposition attacks. He’s not sitting on a deep line and just defending as part of a low block. This is why I think he will adapt to a back 4 tactically (and also because he does have the athleticism for it). It has been perfect for him to be developed by Gasperini.

    I think of him as a cross between Maldini and Chiellini mainly for Chiellini’s size. He’s the sort of player we sign even if the total value of more than we’d like to play because he should end up a >500 game legend, captain and the guy Baresi enda up asking to play in his 6.

    1. Thanks for that because for some reason I haven’t got to watch or observe him as much given the talk about of his talent. He seems good with great potential but personally I don’t feel the need to spend that much money on a CB and if I were forced to getting one I’d rather pay around 20m for Calafiori a very modern CB as well

      1. I really like Calafiori, too. I think he and Scalvini becomes the next Maldini / Nesta / Cannavaro calibre CB pairing for Italy. I’m taking having 2 of the best 5-7 CBs in the world level pairing.

        Calafiori is a bit more advanced right now. That might seem contradictory because Scalvini has played a lot more Serie A and has already represented Italy.

        What I say in response is that Calafiori is 18 months older and while at 6’3 ish / 188cm he is certainly big enough, he is more physically mature and not of that size that there is too much lag time in physical development. While I don’t think many people saw Calafiori breaking out to the extent he is arguably the best CBs in Italy, the realisation of his talents is not as surprising given he is in his 22nd year (and 4th year out of the youth academy). He is entering that zone where he will start to hit his prime.

        Calafiori is also playing in a back 4 which Scalvini has only done for Italy. As I posted above, I don’t think that will ultimately matter but it is a reason Calafiori is currently a more advanced player.

        They’re pretty much equals in terms of their technical capabilities though Calafiori is probably a better dribbler. Calafiori plays a lot as a pseudo midfielder in much the same way Scalvini does and is more common in a back 3 (it’s basically like Motta gets Calafiori to ‘invert’ as a CB in the way Pep started doing with full backs and the full backs then form a back 3).

        The reason I’d still pick Scalvini is that he’ll become a powerhouse who can dominate opponents like few others can.

        1. Appreciate that bit about Calafiori too. I’ve watched quite a bit of Bologna and despite the talks of Zirkzee who’s doing well ,the left footed defender is the one I’ve been most impressed by… Alongside Motta.

          1. I think Calafiori should be a model of sorts for Bartesaghi and Bakoune.

            While Bakoune may have the pure speed for play as a modern full/wing back required by a big team, I don’t think Bartesaghi does. Jury is out because like Scalvini, DB’s a really big kid, and has some great qualities, but I don’t think the raw speed is there.

            In any event the size and physicality doesn’t really get full value for money on a flank. But as a CB it’s much better utilised. As is the case with Calafiori you get all of the ball playing and superior athleticism, natural to the winger, that is not a given for a lot of the CBs coming through. The defensive instincts and tactical knowledge can be and are regularly adapted. See how easily Theo adapted. Di Marco, Augusto and Darmian do it for Inter.

            The more dual position players a squad has, the beter. I think it’s a way of cheating the system a bit.

          2. Few weeks ago I’ve once likened Calafiori to Sergio Ramos who also started out as a fullback although Ramos did looked quicker and more agile but like Ramos ,Calafiori looks so dominant on the pitch especially in possession. Indeed modern players are benefiting from changing positions to a less skilled required one. Bartesaghi could ideally take the same path as he seems a bit too clumsy to me for a modern fallback

  8. Atalanta want to sign bungi from torino as his replacement ? For me better take bungi , he is torino captain, cheaper than scalvini ( ACM can include pobega or colombo to reduce his price) . cDK money + pobega or colombo already enough to bring bungi ( with this ACM can focus budget for striker like jonathan david or zirkzee or the new secret name from moncada list) also if still have 20-25m euro budget ACM can buy DMF like fofana

    1. I’m not too big on having defensive minded midfielders but feels like that Fofana from Monaco can be useful, you’d at least have an important alternative to the different characteristics we’ve, like Mascherano to Busquets Xavi and the likes at Barca. I also like Amrabat.

    1. If Simic renew contract , they planning loan him for one season 2024/2025 to get experience then return to main squad

      1. Well hopefully Simic sign a new contract. I feel like he’s another primavera product who can played well and deserved a spot in the first team.

        But with this news. Do you think Simic wants to sign a new contract?

        1. Thats depend on Simic will. Signing one defender next summer not have effect with him because he will go on loan if he decide renew contract with ACM . That new defender will replace kjaer. So next season CB will be Tomori,Thiaw,Gabbia,Kalulu ( injury prone) , new defender. Kalulu will become 5th choice defender just like pelegrino ( out next season)

      1. You’re not making sense.

        If Pioli hate Gabbia then why he keeps playing him? I’m pretty sure you saw Gabbia started against Lecce. And i don’t think Pioli hate Simic either.

        1. Thiaw was unavailable I think.
          Pioli seems to favour Thiaw over Gabbia when the 2 players are available, which doesn’t make a lot of sense considering how good Gabbia is this season and how Thiaw has been underperforming.
          Simic’s case is even worse, he has done well considering the few minutes he played and during the preseason he was also good but Pioli seems to have completely forgotten about him.

        2. Gabbia only plays when Thiaw is injured, suspended or takes a stupid yellow during the first 45mins (which is often). Thiaw has been Pioli’s first choice over Kjaer & Gabbia ever since he came back.

  9. All those saying we don’t need him – right now we don’t.

    But let’s be honest with ourselves; Tomori is probably going back to England in the summer.

    1. I don’t see any reason why Tomori will go back to England. No EPL club wants him when Chelsea loaned him to Milan. Pretty much Milan is the club who makes him shine again.

      1. “I don’t see any reason why Tomori will go back to England.”

        Plenty of reasons.
        1) More salary. Big thing these days I hear.
        2) Better chance of getting called up to play for his country.
        3) Some say EPL is the best league in the world.
        4) More friends & family there.

        Shall I continue?

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