Thiago Silva is officially a member of PSG. It's a sad, albeit inevitable, statement that Milan fans have been bracing themselves for. Losing arguably the world's best center back would hurt any team but the impact of Thiago Silva's departure must be put into context.
The fee of 42 million euros was the second highest price ever to be paid for a center back, following the transfer of Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United to Manchester United for a fee of 46 million euros back in 2003. It would have been incredibly difficult for a club in the financial standing that Milan have found themselves in to rebuff such an offer. However, now that the Thiago Silva saga has ended, Milan can look to bolster their squad with the stimulus package they have received from Paris Saint Germain.
While Milan have made some moves in this transfer market, it is clear that more additions are in order, especially given that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's departure is imminent. Milan have made their targets somewhat well-known this transfer window, so there won't be any needed inference as there often is with the highly ambiguous Adriano Galliani.
Dede, a Brazilian center back plying his trade for Vasco da Gama, was said to be the favored target of the Milan coaching staff earlier in the summer, but this interest came before it was revealed that Dede had signed through 2015 with a massive 28 million euro release clause in his contract.
This number is surely staggering given that Dede is relatively unproven and has all but eliminated him as a potential transfer target. Recently, Milan made it known that Portuguese center back Rolando had emerged as a target. While Rolando might not possess the potential that Dede does, there are still many perks to the player including his possession of an EU passport, experience in European football with club team Porto, and decent international experience with Portugal.
He was valued at roughly 13 million euros and was certainly an affordable option as a player to replace Thiago Silva. It was a target who made sense both tactically and financially, one that fans and Milan brass could agree on, until today when Porto boss Vitor Pereira revealed that there is a massive 30 million euro release clause in his contract and spurned AC Milan interest.
That being said, Porto is known for inflating the price of their players. It was only last summer that the Porto front office revealed that there was a ludicrous 100 million euro release clause for forward Hulk. This summer, Hulk has been linked to a move to Chelsea for a much more reasonable fee of 35 million pounds or roughly 40 million euros. It remains to be seen if Porto will fold and allow Rolando to leave for less, but considering the necessary frugality of Milan, a deal seems unlikely.
Therein lies the question of who will replace Thiago Silva. Milan's two top defensive targets have had prices of 28 million euros and over placed on them. Francesco Acerbi was brought in to replace the outgoing Alessandro Nesta but no purchase was made in the anticipation of the Silva transfer. Now Milan are left with the center back options of the aforementioned Acerbi, Daniele Bonera, a player who was never really first-team quality, Philippe Mexes, the likely yet uninspiring replacement for Silva, and Mario Yepes, a serviceable veteran whose best days are behind him.
This does not mean that Milan won't continue to pursue other defensive options in the transfer window but it becomes tough for a club in their financial standing to compete with other clubs who can spend millions without blinking. It is difficult for supporters to realize that ownership could forgo their fiduciary responsibility to bolster the squad in the pursuit of balancing the books. I wouldn't hold my breath in hopes that Milan will make big-name acquisitions given the money they will receive from the Thiago Silva and pending Ibrahimovic transfers, as the priority for the ownership is, and always will be, to ensure a business venture is not losing them money.