What’s going on at AC Milan? From struggling summer signings to a disastrous derby defeat

Milan are not big spenders. Their success can be partially attributed to a succession of shrewd signings made by Paolo Maldini and, more recently, Ricky Massara.

However, despite the fact that the entire project is clearly ahead of schedule – Milan, remember, were facing economic ruin just a few years ago – there is talk of the duo leaving this summer if the team does not finish in the top four.

The main reason for such speculation is tension over transfers. Both Maldini and Massara signed new, two-year contracts after the title triumph, but there were lingering issues. Maldini was given the control he wanted in the transfer market, but not the budget.

As a result, Milan spent just €46m strengthening the squad last summer, and some of that went on making loan deals permanent.

The problem, though, is that Charles De Ketelaere accounted for €32m of the overall outlay, and the Belgian has been a disaster to date, failing to score a single goal in 22 appearances, and generally looking completely out of his depth at the highest level.

Furthermore, while his compatriot Divock Origi cost nothing in terms of a transfer fee, a significant investment was made in the former Liverpool man’s wages, and he has yet to justify his pay packet. Again, injuries haven’t helped, but Origi has still only managed to score once in 16 outings.

There is mounting speculation, then, that unless Milan arrest this slump soon, Maldini and Massara could end up paying a heavy price for the struggles of their summer signings.


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