1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to AC Milan
Stefan: Could such a move be this summer’s Pogba 2.0? A talented youngster who wasn’t given a proper chance to establish himself at his club is let go and then re-signed after proving his former employers wrong? It appears that the aim of Milan’s new regime is to bring a player their coaching staff once referred to as “the boy with square feet” back ‘home.’ Such a scenario would represent a huge coup for the sleeping giants especially since it has been widely considered for over a year that Aubameyang’s next move would be to Real Madrid.
Even if Milan do manage to secure Europa League qualification, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Aubameyang sees them as the best move for the progression of his career. Despite their influx of cash, Milan are currently struggling to tie down the futures of homegrown stars, Mattia De Sciglio and Gianluigi Donnarumma, so what is the appeal for Aubameyang? No matter how hard I try to rationalize this move I just can’t fathom it happening. I wouldn’t put money on this, so three out of 10 chance at best.
Marc: “Aubameyang will leave without a doubt, but for around no less than €70m. AC Milan? Yes, I am hearing a lot of chatter about it.” – RMC’s Germany correspondent, David Lortholary
Talk about out of left field. One of Europe’s most prolific marksmen in the last two season heading to AC Milan? Sure, if this was 2007. In 2017, things are far different at the San Siro for the Rossoneri, a team who once ruled Serie A and Europe that has been reduced to low-level relevancy due to financial problems recurring since the second half of the successful, yet transitional Max Allegri era.
Yes, Milan have been taken over by a Chinese consortium and yes, the club has a decent amount of young talents to be encouraged about, particularly Donnarumma. But moving from a team consistently in the Champions League in Dortmund to a team that’s been out of Europe the last two seasons makes little sense for Aubameyang. A possible return for the former Milan youth player hinges on one thing, motive. If the motive is money, which this consortium seems to have enough of, and to prove himself at a club who gave him no senior appearances (loaning him four times) before shipping him to Saint-Etienne, then by all means. If it’s to add a league title or Champions League to his mantle, he may be better served staying at Dortmund or hoping Real Madrid make a run at him, something he admitted he wouldn’t mind happening back in January.
Signing a striker of the Gabonese international’s quality would be a strong statement of intent for Milan in an attempt to return to their former glories. But my hunch is Auba will want to chase glory somewhere else.
2. Diego Simeone to Inter Milan
Stefan: Inter Milan are in desperate need of a revamp similar to what Simeone orchestrated at Atletico Madrid. Thanks to the Suning Group, they now have the financial power to look about overhauling the squad, but first they must find the right man to lead them forward and Simeone is a logical choice.
The Argentine once played for the Nerazzuri and he has never hidden his intention to one day manage his former team. There’s a feeling growing that Simeone has carried this iteration of Atlético Madrid as far as he can. Successive failures to rival, Real Madrid, in the Champions League will leave a bitter taste, but it’s the reopening of the gap between Atlético and the elites of Real Madrid and Barcelona that will hurt most. Couple that with the fact Europe’s eyes are circling around the likes of Hernandez, Oblak, Griezmann and Saul, it’s not impossible to imagine Simeone looking to pastures new. Chances right now? 50-50.
Marc: It’s just a matter of time isn’t it? The former Inter midfielder has outright said he would coach the club again one day and after the Nerazzuri sacked Stefano Pioli last week following a poor run, now seems like the perfect time for the Argentine manager to take the reins at the San Siro.
The Atlético Madrid legend has peaked at the Vicente Calderón. While losing two heartbreaking Champions League finals and being knocked out four consecutive years by Real Madrid must be gnawing at him, Simeone has further cemented his legacy at Atlético since taking over as manager in 2012, winning the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, a Copa Del Rey, La Liga and Spanish Super Cup. He ushered in a golden era for Los Rojiblancos as they’ve fought valiantly against Europe’s super teams, beating damn near all of them at one juncture or another during his tenure. He’s done all he’s can and then some.
Simeone stated after their semi-final defeat to Real last Wednesday that he’s thinking of staying on at Atleti as he enters the final season of a shortened contract and as the club moves into the Wanda Metropolitano this summer. But having hit the apex with a team that frankly can’t do any better than they have in a league dominated by Real and Barca, Simeone would be best served to take on a new challenge. While Inter are actually worse off in the standings than AC Milan, they have more quality pieces to work with, including controversial Argentine striker, Mauro Icardi, who’s having a banner season in Serie A with 24 goals and eight assists. They also have enough resources to make necessary defensive reinforcements to aid Simeone’s defense-heavy system and would offer him a chance to play hero again, rebuilding another of his former stomping grounds. That’s as long as they give him the time they haven’t given other managers though.
I think this move is too logical to pass up. Make your move Cholo, you’ve earned it.