SM Exclusive: Milan in talks with Celtic talent over deal with player keen – the details

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have a concrete interest in signing Rocco Vata from Celtic and are exploring a pre-contract agreement with his entourage, we have learned.

As deals such as the ones for Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw plus more recently Alex Jimenez and Filippo Terracciano show, Milan like to try and get in there early when it comes to securing young talents for the future.

Part of the reason for that is because of their expansive scouting network and the influence of Geoffrey Moncada, while there is of course an economic advantage to getting in before a player explodes and their price tag does the same.


Vata is the son of a former Celtic defender – Rudi Vata – and he has always felt a certain attachment to the Scottish club, with whom he signed his first professional contract with at the age of 16 in July 2021.

Vata has been in the academy since he was seven years old and made the decision to represent Ireland at youth level. He made his way up through the ranks of the academy at Celtic, then joining the B-Team.

Vata went on to make his first-team debut during the 2022-23 season, coming off the bench in a 4-0 win against Hibernian, making his home debut in April 2023 as part of a handful of appearances that campaign.

He spent most of the first half of the 2023-24 season with the youth team and was their top scorer, playing as an attacking midfielder and as a winger, then he scored his first senior goal for Celtic during a 5-0 victory over Buckie Thistle at Celtic Park.

“Celtic is a big part of my life because when I was born my dad played for them. I’d always watch them in my free time. Celtic has always been in my heart,” Vata said.

Milan’s interest

It was back in 2022 that Vata was first linked with Milan, by TMW. They stated that he is ‘the star of Ireland’s Under 19 national team’ and at that time he had recently scored against Fulham, but also against RB Leipzig in the Youth League.

The teenager was described as ‘a talent to keep an eye on’, so much so that Milan and Juventus are watching him very closely through scouts, as are Roma, Arsenal and Manchester City.

However, at that time the Scottish side had no intention of selling him but while their then head coach Ange Postecoglou (now at Spurs) was delaying promoting him to the first team full time, the interest would continue to grow.

When he came off the bench with six minutes to go for his debut against Hibernian, another report from the same source emerged.

They stated that after his excellent performances in the Youth League, many scouts were present to watch Vata including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid, plus Roma, Juventus and Milan who are also interested in signing the teenager.

Our information

According to the information that we have learned through sources close to the situation, Milan have in fact stepped up their interest in signing Vata having watched him over the past couple of years.

Not only that, but the 18-year-old is approaching the end of his contract which means that he would be available on a ‘free transfer’.

However, because of the rules regarding compensation due to clubs who developed players through their academies that are below a certain age, it would actually cost Milan €400k to bring him in.

Nonetheless, the interest is very much concrete and discussions have been held over a pre-contract in view of the summer. The player, we are told, is keen on making the move.

It is possible that Vata is being eyed for the U23 team project, but given his desire for first team football at Celtic, he could well instantly become an option for Stefano Pioli or whomever the coach is for 2024-25.

Tags AC Milan Rocco Vata
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