On Tuesday, AC Milan confirmed the signing of Mateo Musacchio, formerly of Villarreal. That was before coach Vincenzo Montella’s renewal was announced on a surprise live social media stream, as the Rossoneri hierarchy began to back their words with action. Three days later, another signing was unveiled when Franck Kessie finalised a move to the San Siro.
It’s been an exciting week for Milan supporters. Speculation regarding other potential transfer targets has continued to flow. It’s been difficult at times to keep up with it all, but what football fan would have it any other way at this time of the year?
More importantly, CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimo Mirabelli are acting decisively and swiftly in bringing in what is badly needed. Musacchio and Kessie are two core signings, and it’s the perfect start to what should be a busy month or two in Milan.
Adding a defensive partner for Alessio Romagnoli was a top priority for the new management. In Musacchio, they’ve bought an experienced player who should complement his new teammate well. Having tried and tested various players next to the Italian international this past season, it’s hoped that Musacchio — who should now be entering his prime at 26 — can form a long-term partnership with Romagnoli.
As for Kessie, the Milan midfield has been screaming out for a player with his attributes for years. The powerful, physical, tenacious and skilful midfielder is still just 20, and he will undoubtedly make a major impact moving forward — and he still has so much room for improvement.
Better yet, Milan confirmed that Kessie joined on an initial two-year loan deal with an obligation to buy, showing how smart Fassone and Mirabelli are being with the financial side of things with Financial Fair Play and other factors in mind.
It remains to be seen who follows these additions to Milanello between now and the end of the summer, but the pair are two crucial additions as Montella goes about adding strength to the backbone of his squad.
The 42-year-old manager has had the backing of a large majority of supporters since being appointed last summer, and committing his future to the Rossoneri for the next two years is as important as any new signing is.
After guiding the club back into Europe and winning silverware last season, it was felt he deserved another year to push Milan forward with the help of significant transfer funds.
That is now what he’s receiving. While that comes with additional pressure as expectations rise, he’ll undoubtedly relish the opportunity to put this squad together and make it work with several new faces settling in and having a real influence on the team.
It hasn’t all been positive. Gianluigi Donnarumma’s future has yet to be cleared up, despite suggestions that Milan have proposed a new and improved contract offer to him and his agent Mino Raiola.
The 18-year-old’s current deal expires in 12 months. Given the finances involved in this latest reported offer, coupled with recent talk of ultimatums and a Plan B in the event he doesn’t sign, this feels like a decisive point in his future with Milan.
For their part, the club have put their best offer on the table on a personal level for the teenager, and the signings of Musacchio and Kessie show their ambition rather than merely relying on motivational speeches and promises of a brighter future.
In turn, either he accepts and commits to the club that he’s emotionally tied with — one that has helped him develop into one of the most talked-about talents in Europe — or Milan accept that he intends on moving on. That would be a major blow, but ultimately no player is bigger than the club.
What is also reassuring about this week is that Milan are not only making strides in bolstering the squad, but they’re trying to do so quickly. With the squad reporting for preseason in a month — and with the early start to next season with the Europa League qualifiers — these signings needed to happen now. Milan are certainly delivering, much to the delight of their supporters.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.