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Double Blow For Milan: Pioli’s Saudi Move Shaky And A Possible Change Of Mind From Zirkzee

Written By Onyeka Daniel

After playing second fiddle to their city rivals, Inter Milan for much of last season, AC Milan are determined to have a better campaign for the 2024-25 season, which is why changes have been going on at the club, starting with the appointment of Paulo Fonseca To replace Stefano Pioli.

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Consequently, the former Roma and Lille manager is preparing for the upcoming season and will speak to the media for the first time tomorrow, but things aren’t really going on well in the background for the club. Pioli had been in advanced talks with Al-Ittihad in recent weeks, to become their new coach.


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However, according to recent reports, the negotiations could fall through. Though he’s no longer the coach of the Rossoneri, Pioli remains on their payroll, with a salary of €4m net until 2025. This costs the club around €7.4m but it’s believed that with the manager’s staff included, the figure rises to around €10m.

According to Corriere dello Sport, the negotiations between Pioli and Al-Ittihad have slowed down significantly. There are still many details to resolve and the move could fall through in the end, with no guarantees of a happy ending.

Should Pioli fail to reach an agreement with the Saudi Arabian side, or with any other club for that matter, then he will remain on Milan’s payroll for the upcoming season. A departure is thus what the Rossneri are hoping for, also because they could then reinvest the money saved on the mercato.

Also, it looks like their primary target, Joshua Zirkzee is starting to have a change of heart about moving to the club this summer. Apart from Milan, the Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee, a transfer target for Manchester United and Arsenal, and the player has recently admitted that he’s unsure about remaining in Serie A next season:

The Dutch forward made his senior Netherlands debut on Saturday in a 2-1 win over Turkey in the EURO 2024 quarter-finals.He briefly spoke about his future in the mixed zone after the game, and when a Sportitalia journalist asked him whether he would remain in Italy’s top flight, without mentioning any team, he replied:

“I don’t know…let’s see.”The journalist Insisted: ‘How many chances? 50-50?’But yet again Zirkzee walked away smiling and saying: “I don’t know.” For Milan, they’re ready to pay his release clause (€40m) to sign him. But the catch is their unwillingness to pay his agent’s commissions.

Kia Joorabchian wants €15m, a fee that Manchester United are more likely to pay, especially after their coach Erik Ten Hag reported contacted the 23-year-old striker himself, hoping to convince his countryman that a move to the Old Trafford would be equally nice. This new stance could be bad for Milan, as they have already found an agreement on personal terms with the player.

Meanwhile…

There is further bad news on the horizon, because one of the players that they’re targeting as alternative could be headed elsewhere too. A new report from Italy has it that Chelsea could offer Romelu Lukaku and Cesare Casadei as part of a package deal to lower the cost of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.

It is well known that the Nigerian striker would be leaving Napoli this summer, but so far, no club has come forward, as they’re reportedly unwilling to pay his €130m release clause.

But he’s still expected to leave the club, hence, according to TEAMtalk, the Blues are talking to Napoli about various options to exchange players, which would bring down the overall cost of the operation.

Read Also: Serie A Fixture List For The 2024-25 Season

Lukaku is the inevitable candidate, seeing as Napoli’s new coach Antonio Conte is desperate to reunite with the former Inter striker and he is part of the plans at Stamford Bridge.

Armando Broja and Trevoh Chalobah were mentioned, but neither of them are of particular interest to the Partenopei. A name that could well entice Conte is Casadei, the 21-year-old Italian midfielder who left Inter for €14.86m in 2022 and worked under Enzo Maresca on loan at Leicester City.

Napoli have lost Piotr Zielinski as a free agent to Inter, so Casadei would fill that role. If Lukaku and Casadei were part of the deal, Chelsea would hope to pay only €60m cash for Osimhen. It would definitely be a hard blow to Milan who had been considering the Belgian as an alternative to Zirkzee.

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