Backed by Middle Eastern Investment, Paris Saint-German were able to offer a substantial bid as they continue their big spending. It is confirmed that PSG has offered a combined total £51.4m for AC Milan duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.
Both are widely regarded as among the elite footballers in their positions and along with the signing of Argentinian winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, they will provide a realistic proposition to owners Qatar Sports Investments of creating a club side able to compete with the biggest and the best in Europe.
“Yes, I have sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG. We will save 150 million euro in two years”. - AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi.
AC Milan supporters will tell you that both players involved in the transfer are impeccable. Thiago Silva is a powerful defender with explosive speed, aerial ability, powers of anticipation and technical prowess who could feature in any European club side.
To be honest, I’m surprised Thiago Silva moved to PSG, as he did attract interest from major sides such as Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona. It was well documented that Barcelona had put in an offer for the Brazilian international this summer but this deal also included Barca youngster Thiago and a lower offer than PSG.
In fact, I thought that Silva would have handed in a transfer request and that would attract instant interest from all the top clubs. Instead, he jumped on the the boat with Ibrahimovic and took the easier option and joined PSG in a less competitive Ligue 1.
While everything had clicked into place in Italy, the same could not be said for his previous European postings. During a year in Portugal, where he joined FC Porto from Juventude in 2004, he was assailed by injury and respiratory problems, which was followed by a traumatic spell in Russia with Dynamo Moscow, where he contacted tuberculosis and had to undergo an operation to save one of his lungs.
It has been suggested that Thiago Silva could have signed for PSG for the money, but I would have to disagree as he would have gotten the same salary at any top European side. I think he left with Ibrahimovic as without the Swede leading the Milan forward line, Milan are not a good enough side to really challenge for the Champions League, the ultimate goal for a modern age footballer.
The alternate part of the £51.4m deal also saw the much traveled Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was the top goalscorer in Seire A last season with 28 goals in 32 matches which was the Swedes best goal return of his career to date.
“A scorer of great goals rather than important goals,” is a term many critics use and I have even repeated these words myself at times. But who could argue with a man who has won nine domestic titles with five different clubs in eleven seasons. At PSG, Zlatan will thrive to win his tenth domestic title, although his and the Qatari owners’ primary objective is to reach the Champions League final, which is the only trophy to have eluded him.
If a scriptwriter had come up with the story of the life and times of Ibrahimovic, he might well have been accused of over-indulging his politically correct fantasies. Perhaps, when Jose Mourinho used to insist during his time at Inter that Ibrahimovic was the “best player in the world”, maybe he was exaggerating only a little. Maybe he really meant it.
Carlo Ancelotti is still aware that he needs to build a strong relationship with the striker to prevent tension that was created at Barcelona between Ibrahimovic and then manager Pep Guardiola. Zlatan wanted the team to be built around him instead of Messi at Barcelona, which frustrated the Catalan manager.
Not only is Ibrahimovic a goalscorer, he has a technical armour which contains a bag of outrageous tricks, ranging from impish backheels to imperious feints. He is an entertainer and this will intrigue the Qatari president of PSG, Nasser-Al-Khelaifi, who is also the president of Al Jazeera, the Arab TV station which recently snapped up broadcasting rights to Lique 1 until 2016.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has yet to perform in the Champions League and he sees PSG as the club to end his luck-less run in the competition. He signed for Champions League winners Barcelona in 2010, the same season when his previous employers (Inter Milan) won the Champions League. With his obvious talent and determination, he hopes to lead PSG to the “trophy with big ears”.
So where does this leave AC Milan? Their fans will not expect anything less than the Seire A title despite both of their best players under Massimo Allergi having left to PSG.
If Juventus hold onto their star players who were influential in their unbeaten title triumph, then the prospect of Milan winning Seire A seems unlikely. Although I am a big fan of the way Allergi has transformed Milan into champions in the 2010-11 season after they had not won a title since 2004.
Last season Milan finished runners up to Juventus. A title charge from “il Rossoneri” seems unlikely with the departure of their two most accomplished stars. Milan supporters can take some assurance by looking across town to rivals Inter Milan.When Inter Milan sold Ibrahimovic to Barcelona, the deal included taking Samuel Eto’o to Milan while also strengthening their squad by signing playmaker – Wesley Sneijder and defender – Lucio. Those key signings made by Mourinho made Inter a formidable force winning the Scudetto, Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
With no players of their capability on the market at the moment, it is unlikely such a revolution will occur at AC Milan. Milan need to carefully build a strong and youthful side that can compare with the great Milan teams of older generations. If not, then Milan will have to compete with Champions League places with teams such as Napoli, Udinese and Roma in the near future at least.
Milan are a club with great tradition and history and would seem a preferred destination for many talented European and South American players; but without major stars to carry the team to glory, players might look to their European counterparts to achieve their goals.
The striker Milan have kept their eye on, in recent months, is Carlos Tevez. The controversial frontman has expressed his desire to leave Manchester for two years now. But with only a two year contract worth a staggering £286,000 a week, it is unlikely Tevez will leave Manchester City unless forced out by Mancini. Tevez stated earlier in his career that he will finish his football at Boca Juniors and would retire before he is 30, so it is unlikely he will sign a long-term contract with Milan (if he does do so!).
It is likely that Milan will move for Tevez’s clubmate – Edin Dzeko.The Bosnian preferred Milan before moving to City but AC Milan didn’t offer enough money. A physical player with good finishing, he would be the ideal replacement for Ibrahimovic.
The Sun newspaper created the Andy Carroll to Milan rumour after Brendan Rodgers said in a press conference that they would consider loaning Carroll to another club.
To replace Thiago Silva is a bigger problem for Milan. He is a player that is unique in ability and such a replacement cannot be found as easily as some might think. Italy have legacy for great defenders, with Milan in particular, giving us some phenomenal defenders like Baresi, Maldini, Nesta, just to name a few.
But the center halves of the Italian team that came runners up in Euro 2012 consisted of Chiellini, Barzagli and Bonucci, all play for Juventus. Milan may have to look abroad for a Thiago Silva replacement.
The name which jumped straight into my head was Adil Rami, a center half for Valencia. Under Laurent Blanc in the French national team, Rami formed a strong partnership with Milan defender Philippe Mexes. He wouldn’t be expensive, as Valencia are in a flood of debt and have to sell at least two good players a summer.
Javier Mascherano has also been mentioned as a potential signing. If Milan were to splash out I would highly recommend Javi Martinez who has flourished in the recently famed Athletic Bilbao side. Not a natural center back but he thrives in the role and could also cover the defensive midfield role, his natural position and an area where Milan have also lost in with the departures of Gattuso and Van Bommel. Bayern Munich are very keen on the Spanish international so Milan will have to act quickly.
If they sign replacements for both Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic, they will still have money left to spend. Maybe Berlusconi will use the rest of the transfer to decrease the club debt or invest in the youth academy.
I would suggest he invest the remainder on a promising youth forward/winger – Andriy Yarmolenko. Like his idol – Shevchenko – he is from Ukraine as has even been nicknamed “Sheva” as he comes from Dyanamo Kiev (as Shevchenko did) and is rated as highly by some Ukrainian journalists.
He has a good physique, shot and explosive speed off the mark gives Milan something different than the flair of Robinho and El Shaarawy. Yarmolenko is also left footed which makes him dangerous cutting in from the right and shooting on his stronger foot. He is also versatile enough to play anywhere across the frontline.
Milan are certainly weakened by the recent departures from their club but don’t back against “il Rossoneri” as they have their glowing reputation and trophy cabinet by their ability to rebuild and follow their tradition of success.
Published with permission from O-Posts.