SM Exclusive: Villarreal insider on Chukwueze – “He will cause all sorts of damage”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan pursued Samuel Chukwueze for weeks and they finally managed to break down Villarreal’s resistance, signing him earlier in the week on a five-year deal.

Fabrizio Romano among other sources has reported that Chukwueze arrived for a fee of around €20m plus €8m in bonuses which could represent a bargain, but was influenced by his contract situation.

The 24-year-old amassed 13 goals and 11 assists in all competitions last season for the Yellow Submarine, and on the face of things he and Rafael Leao should form a dangerous two-flanked attack.

What can Milan fans expect from the Nigeria international? We spoke to Jamie Kemble who is a writer for Villarreal’s SB Nation site among other outlets to get some insight.

What is your reaction to Chukwueze leaving for €20m plus bonuses? Is it a fair price?

“Probably not. I mean, it’s not overly cheap if all of those bonuses are paid, but when you consider Samu Castillejo went for more than 30 million, it does feel very cheap.

“Had a Premier League club come in for Chukwueze, or if he had been under a longer contract, this could well have been a 40 million or more deal. AC Milan have been able to take advantage of Villarreal’s contract error to get themselves a bargain.”

“Chukwueze has been linked with a move to the Premier League and even Real Madrid in the past but reports early on made it clear he wanted Milan, why do you think he chose us?

“I’m not sure there was enough interest elsewhere, in truth. This comes down to timing. There has been serious interest in the past, but Villarreal had him under a good contract.

“This was the telling summer when he had the chance to move, with only a year remaining on his contract, and when it came down to it, AC Milan were the only serious suitor.

“Still, he will have seen it as a chance to compete for titles, and it’s a good move. If Real Madrid were actually at the table, I think that would have been his first choice move, which is no disrespect to Milan.

“Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world, and Samu could have stayed in Spain where he has been happy for a long time.”

What are Chukwueze’s best qualities and skills?

“Pace, agility and ball control. Samu is one of the quickest players in the game, both on and off the ball. He is ridiculously skilful on the ball, able to turn rivals inside out, and the ball seems to stick to his foot.

“He has had those abilities from a young age, and they have only improved. His finishing has also improved, and particularly in the last year.

“He has been accused of lacking the final touch in earlier in his career, much like Vinicius Jr, but he has been able to slow the game down a little and provide a more decisive final finish or cross in the last year or so, in particular.

“Samu is and out-and-out attacker, and given free reign to do that, he will cause all sorts of damage, especially if you can keep his confidence high.”

What kind of an impact could his arrival have on Rafael Leao, given the similarities in their playing style and the fact Milan now have a two-flanked attack?

“That’s a dangerous-looking attack. I think they do differ a little. Leao is more powerful on the ball, but Samu will find his way through smaller gaps and he’ll get on the end of through balls or balls over the top quicker.

“You guys will know Leao better than me, but as for Samu, and having seen Leao in action, that’s a really dangerous front-line.”

Do you think he will find it easy to settle in to Serie A or is patience needed?

“That’s an interesting question, and one that is difficult to answer. There is always an adaption process, but it’s fair to say going from La Liga to Serie A or vice versa is a much easier adaption process than to the Premier League, for example.

“Much will depend on keeping Samu-s confidence high and giving him the licence to make mistakes without getting on his back. That’s true of almost all wingers, and especially skillful ones.

“He adapted to a new culture in Spain very well and never showed a willingness to leave or give up despite arriving as a youngster from Africa. That’s a good qualiy that suggests he should adapt well to life in Italy.”

Tags AC Milan Samuel Chukwueze


  1. He will adapt easily in Italy, I know that for sure, with laeo, and maybe okafor or another natural CF, Milan will be formidable

    1. My bad forgot about the inclusion of bacca as reccaman point out further down the comment section. Baffeling deal.

      1. Bacca did fine.

        We sold him for no reason whatsoever.

        But that was a time when we used to sell our leading goalscorer from the previous season every summer….(seriously we sold Balotelli, Menez, Bacca and Cutrone the summers after they finished as our leading goalscorers!).

        1. Sometimes he did other times i didnt really ike his attitude.

          Cutrone wasnt sold as our topscorer, he had a good season before one where he didnt contribute as well as he only scored 3 serie a goals in the season before he was sold, he did add 6 more in other competitions though. He is now playing in como in serie b so in hindsight not really a bad move selling him for 20 mil even though i always liked him. Same can be said about menez who also had a dip of form and injuries before getting sold.

    1. I didnt really expect it to be possible for us to sign him before this transfer window so im really excited about this move but as i havent had access to twitter for a long time as its now required to have a profile logged in its good to hear that quote, so thanks for the info Gigi.

  2. This is the only signing, aside for perhaps Reijnders, that I have been really keen on this mercato. This is going to be fun to watch.

    But the game against Real and Juve also told us that this mercato has left us with a poorly balanced team. A out-and-out defensive midfielder is really needed. I am not sure Musah is that guy…

  3. I dont know what leonardo thinking bring castilejo more than 30m euro ( including bacca price ) . His awful decision on caldara,paqueta,higuain ,piatek cost AC Milan a lot of money . Glad this leonardo only one season

    1. Oh thats right bacca was part of the deal completely forgot about that so that actually makes the deal rise to the vicinity of 30 mil maybe even more, Loved leonardo the player but not so much after his playing career as he also tried to poach some of our players at low prices when at psg, that and he took jobs at inter as well didnt really make me kike him more either.

    2. Do you think the situation was helped by the fact that we had the likes of Gattuso as manager?

      Gattuso managed Napoli in 20/21 and they finished 5th. A few additions and Spalletti they won the title just two seasons later after a phenomenal season. Next season I think they’ll drop down possibly out of the top 4 just because they’ve lost Spalletti. That’s how much a difference a manager can make.

      All of these write offs over the years at Milan were a reflection of how badly mismanaged the clubs and the players were. One of the big tragedies (other than wallowing in mid table) was the number of players we destroyed.

      I truly hope these new signings don’t go the same way. But if they do it is not the fault of the players but the management.

  4. Chukwueze has been linked with a move to the Premier League and even Real Madrid in the past but reports early on made it clear he wanted Milan, why do you think he chose us?

    If Real Madrid were actually at the table, I think that would have been his first choice move, which is no disrespect to Milan.

    That guy said it best.
    I know it’s just me but as much as i love milan to the death, i find it really annoying when news talking about how players choose milan over other clubs.

    I mean. It’s like a text book thing to say when you are a new signing.
    Ofcourse you’re gonna say nice thing to your new club.
    Well maybe some players really are fans of milan, and really choose milan.
    But every single time Milan sign a new player, there are always news about how milan won the competition against other clubs because the player choose milan

  5. Leao & Chukwueze are different. Leao stands 1,88 m tall and Chukwueze only 1,72 m tall. So their style when on ball very differ. Leao can use his big body to protect the ball, so he always find a way in front of markers and never doubt his body-duels, and his speed very help him.

    But Chukwueze is more agile, and has low-gravity like Bennacer. It means he will find it harder to body-duel so im sure his primary moves are cut-inside & cross to Target-man (Giroud), so he will more Inverted-style than Leao. And if Chukwueze can improve his Long-Shots, he will be one of the most elite wingers in the world.

  6. He looks exciting.

    And it would be great to see an Italian team play with three out and out attackers. It’s not something we see a lot.

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