AC Milan Transfer Talk: Leandro Damiao Is the Best Fit of the Linked Forwards

Tim FontenaultCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2012

22-year-old Leandro Damiao is the best option of the forwards linked to Milan this week.
22-year-old Leandro Damiao is the best option of the forwards linked to Milan this week.Brandon Wade/Getty Images

AC Milan have been sifting through a list of several candidates to replace striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his sale to Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester City duo Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko (per ESPN), Arsenal's Robin Van Persie (per talkSPORT), Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov (per Yahoo!), Internacional's Leandro Damiao (per ESPN), Liverpool's Andy Carroll (per FOX Sports) and Juventus' Alessandro Matri (per Football Italia) have all been linked to the club over the last week or so. Milan will have to make a move on somebody eventually, as CEO Adriano Galliani has promised to replace Ibra with a champion.

Milan have already sent the message that they are looking to build for the future.

That was made clear with the offloading of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in order to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations along with Milan's seemingly new willingness to give young players a chance. Both Stephan El Shaarawy (19) and Mattia De Sciglio (19) could see their fair share of time in the squad this year.

Milan have the pieces in place that could make them one of the most feared teams in the world for a long time. Why not continue to look at young pieces? Milan already have two veteran forwards with Robinho and Antonio Cassano. If they can find a player to team up with El Shaarawy, 22-year-old Alexandre Pato and 18-year-old Mattia Valoti (who is highly rated by Massimiliano Allegri) up front, Milan will be one of the most lethal attacks imaginable in a few years.

That is why the Rossoneri should look to Internacional and Leandro Damiao to build for long-term success.

Damiao, 22, has been a star since making his debut in 2010 and has earned a spot in a key role with Brazil's Olympic team. The Tottenham and Inter Milan target has scored 70 goals in 115 matches for Internacional since 2010.


His agent Vinicius Prates met with Galliani on Wednesday for what he said was "the first contact." It was generally a meet and greet.

However, Milan wouldn't have taken the time if they weren't interested. Instead of paying over €20 million for a player they would only have for a couple seasons, as he reaches the end of his prime, Milan could pay about €15 million for a player that they can make into a long-term club hero. He wouldn't cost as much as the other players in wages either, so Milan are looking at a real bargain here.

Damiao is a player who can come in and start right away and have a big impact.

Matri is the most likely player besides Damiao to arrive, but he fits into more of a role that Maxi Lopez played off the bench for the Rossoneri during his loan spell last season.

With the potential to build a deadly attack over the next few years and the fact that he would be available at a cheaper price than the others, Leandro Damiao makes a lot of sense for Milan. Imagine the Brazilian strike duo of Pato and Damiao with El Shaarawy able to play behind them in an attacking role. When Pato and Damiao are 25 and El Shaarawy 22, that could be a scary site for defenses around Europe.