The Problematic January Transfer Market

After watching Milan struggle more during the first part of this season as compared to recent seasons,  it is natural to look to the January transfer market for reinforcements. Given the sheer number of serious injuries to important players and how much their absences impacted our results, the need to improve squad depth is very obvious. However, making improvements in January could prove very challenging. Not only is it unclear how much money, if any, is currently available for investment, but we already have a bloated squad, and would need players to leave before we could sign anyone new, even just on loan. Then there is the danger of interfering with the team mentality midseason, which is the very secret to Milan's success. Which is why this January transfer market could prove to be very problematic.

Milan fans' transfer enemy number one

Much has been discussed about the nonexistent January transfer market this past year. There are also question marks around the summer's transfer window, in spite of the sale of the club. With the year impacted by changes in ownership and now CEO as well, it is unclear as to where Milan are right now in terms of budget for the fiscal year. Even if RedBird are willing to invest, whether or not our current income is enough to allow it is unknown. It seems like, having qualified for the Champions League Round of 16 and also signing a new and much improved shirt deal with Emirates, we should definitely have improved our income enough to warrant signing a new player or two. But everything else would have to fall in line financially to make this happen as well.

Our squad size is already bloated, having had to sign a couple of extra players due to long-term injuries. We currently have 30 players on the roster of the first team. Part of the reason we have more players is due to suffering with such a lean squad the last two seasons, and being incredibly short when injuries happened. Knowing we would be competing in the Champions League this season, and planning to go beyond the Group Stage, Maldini and Massara intentionally increased the squad size. They added players like Thiaw and Vranckx late in the summer, and also added Dest at the last minute when Florenzi suffered a long-term injury as well.

Dest was brought in to cover for an injury, but may have caused more problems than he is worth

In order to bring in any new players, we would need to have players leave, even on loan. This is the biggest stumbling block I foresee in making moves in the January transfer window. We have the permanent leech that is Bakayoko, who supposedly decided with about 24 hours left in the summer window that it would be wise to leave, but obviously, it was too late. Reports are that he would not be willing to leave and/or no one would pay his wages until summer. He has been linked repeatedly to Turkish side Adana Demirspor, where our old pal Montella is managing, but it may take a miracle for him to leave in January.

Adli was rumored to leave on loan again in January, but worked hard to prove himself over the break. Newer reports indicate he has found favor with Pioli and is unlikely to leave. Other young players could potentially be loaned out, but who? Those who have not played much have been working toward more playing time. Pioli has worked hard to build this team's mentality, and it would be a huge risk to send someone on loan unless we were guaranteed a very strong, experienced player that would slot right into a starting spot. And Milan is unlikely to drop the kind of cash needed for a player like that.

Adli has been working hard and could be useful... do we gamble by loaning him for someone new?

We are already suffering from bringing in a player like Dest at the last minute. He is a good enough player, but his transfer fees are €20 million, fees Milan are incredibly unlikely to pay for that level of player. Worse still, his salary is €6 million per year, the highest by far at Milan right now, which could be one of the potential problems with the renewals of Leão and Bennacer. If Milan are not offering both of them in excess of €6 million per year, it is a slap in the face, as they are both so much more talented than the American fullback. Yet Milan's wage bill cannot sustain multiple salaries of over €6 million per year, either. Whether or not those two renew are major factors in Milan's potential transfer strategies, as well.

Tatarusanu has exceeded expectations, but is simply not good enough to fill Maignan's shoes

For these and potentially other reasons, it could explain why Pioli has started in with the "we do not need any reinforcements in January" narratives in the press. Likely he has sat down with Maldini and Massara and weighed out the cost/benefit ratio of making changes in January. Outside of the very real issue of signing a better second keeper to cope with Maignan's extended calf injuries, they may have to sit another January mercato out and grit their teeth through another second half of a season. I do not know that we could be so lucky to win twice without reinforcing midseason. But I also know that when rebuilding, it is not wise to throw money at temporary problems, either. It is a situation where Milan are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. That is what makes this January transfer market so problematic.

This post inspired by the music of Måneskin's "Beggin'"

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The Problematic January Transfer Market The Problematic January Transfer Market Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
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