After the window slammed shut at 20:00 CEST on Monday, a period of reflection has begun on just where AC Milan currently find themselves.
There was disappointment that a defender did not arrive on deadline day – nor any player for that matter – but this is counterbalanced by the earlier business done to sign the likes of Brahim Diaz, Sandro Tonali, Jens Petter Hauge and Diogo Dalot, plus the renewal of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
How would you rate Milan’s summer market? What was the best purchase in your opinion?
“I think that the management have worked well. Just to use the Italian rating style, I think that they deserve a rating of 6.5. The best purchase? The Zlatan Ibrahimovic renewal. This was the priority to continue the growing process of the team.”
Do you think Maldini and Massara addressed all the needs of the squad?
“No. Because I think that the squad needs a deputy to Theo Hernandez at left-back, and also need another centre-forward. A vice-Ibra. Colombo has a great talent and he’ll grow up during the season behind Zlatan, but he can not be his alter ego.”
How did the pursuit of a central defender go? Who were the names we concretely wanted, and why didn’t a defender arrive?
“You know that Maldini and Massara tried to purchase a central defender, but they didn’t the job done. They wanted Milenkovic, but Commisso asked for 40 million.
“During the final days, they tried to convince Schalke 04 to sell Kabak, but the Germans decided not to sell him. During deadline day, Milan made an offer to Strasbourg for Simakan, but in the end they decided to stop the negotiations because they think that in January, probably, a chance is going to come up.
“The owners gave Maldini and Massara the possibility to raise the offer for Simakan, but they chose not to do it for technical and cost-based reasons.”
Will Milan go back in for a new central defender in January?
“Maybe. It depends on several factors. We have to see how Romagnoli and Musacchio will come back and how they’re going to play.”
Was there truth regarding the links with Soumare, Chiesa, Thauvin or Jovic?
“I learned, in my over 10 years as a reporter, that there is always a grain of truth when a name is linked. But Milan are operating in a very complicated economic situation.
“They have over 300 million of losses in their consolidated financial statement and only 200 million in turnover. So, you can be interested in a player – i.e. the names you asked me – but the numbers are the truth.”
What do you think of Milan’s start to the season? The best and worst parts?
“When you go on a run of 19 matches without losing, there is something good in your squad and Milan need to continue their evolution. The best bits are the victories without Ibrahimovic. It means a lot. The worst? The heart-attack penalty shootout against Rio Ave (smiling).”
Do you believe this squad can get top four and challenge for a trophy (Coppa Italia or Europa League)?
“I hope so.”
Finally, what do you think of the way Gazidis and Elliott are running the club, such as their recruitment strategies and off-field ambitions?
“Well, this is the bottom line of the interview. They inherited a catastrophic situation from the Chinese owners, with an economic situation that had the club in trouble.
“When you build an house, you have to start from the bottom and then build up the rest. We have to give them time. The challenge that they accepted is not easy to win, but we have to be optimistic regarding their work.”