The Italian transfer market's been a busy one so far this summer, with all of Serie A's key players making moves to strengthen their squads ahead of the new campaign.
-- LAST UPDATE TUE JULY 30 --
Walter Mazzarri's Inter and Rudi Garcia's Roma have been under the spotlight as fans try to figure out how the new bosses will fair in 2013-14, and champions Juventus have hit the headlines with some key additions up front.
Of all of Italy's top clubs, then, AC Milan have enjoyed the quietest start to the summer. With a young squad and a clear aim to become financially sound and youth-based in their approach, they've been allowed to work quietly on improving Max Allegri's squad ahead of the new season. But that doesn't mean that Adriano Galliani hasn't been busy.
Milan had been hot favourites to sign Genoa star Juraj Kucka as far back as March (as reported at the time by goal.com), but rumours in Italy now suggest that the Slovakian midfielder will move to Wolfsburg instead.
According to the Corriere dello Sport (here in English via football-italia.net), the Germans have pipped the Rossoneri to his signature with a €9 million move.
It's little wonder that Parma boss Pietro Leonardi looks in good spirits these days. Roberto Donadoni has the Crociati playing good football, and there's no shortage of talent in the squad.
Which, of course, means that Leonardi has no shortage of offers for his top players. Milan are among several clubs linked to Gabriel Paletta, a defender that Liverpool off-loaded several years ago who is now valued at €35 million, according to the Parma president.
Football-italia reports in English on a press conference that the Roman businessman recently gave in which he insisted that the Argentine defender would not be sold for less than €35 million. Paletta is a crucial part of the current Parma set-up and would bring plenty of positives to the San Siro, but the Rossoneri might not be able to get over that price-tag.
According to several outlets, Japan star Keisuke Honda is eagerly awaiting his reported move to Milan. Football-italia.net reports that Honda turned down other high-profile clubs, including Barcelona, to move to the San Siro.
Honda's contract with CSKA Moscow runs out at the end of 2013, and though the Rossoneri would like the Confederations Cup star to start the season under Max Allegri's charge, if a reasonable deal cannot be reached it's believed he'll simply join the Italian giants in January.
Speaking to Sky Italia (here in English via skysports.com), Adriano Galliani said of the move:
Honda's contract expires on December 31st and he can open up negotiations with other clubs, like us. I think he will arrive in January.
I don't think he will arrive now unless some sponsor allows the move to take place. His price tag and his wages are just too high but if an external source were to intervene, then it could happen.
Speaking ahead of the TIM Trophy clash with Juventus, Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri said he expected next season's Serie A to be hotly contested, with all of his rivals strengthening over the summer.
At the press conference (here in English, via football-italia.net), Allegri said:
Juve will be the favourites. They’ve brought in some important players from Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente to Angelo Ogbonna.
Milan know it will be harder than last season. Apart from Juve, there are six other sides who will be fighting for a place in the Champions League.
As for his own recruits, the Rossoneri boss was enthusiastic.
Riccardo Saponara and Andrea Poli have arrived. Jherson Vergara was born in 1994 and he’ll be here from July 25. They are three youngsters who are in line with the project here. We have 25 in the squad and if someone leaves then they will be adequately replaced. We don’t want a squad of 30. New faces will only be brought in if players leave first.
Allegri also spoke about Japanese international Keisuke Honda, who it is widely believed will arrive if not during this window then in January.
"Honda is a good player," said the tactician, "someone who can be used as a trequartista but also in wide positions, but he is still a CSKA Moscow player and I don’t like to talk about individuals at other clubs."
Adriano Galliani has rubbished rumours linking the Rossoneri with a move that would bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from Paris Saint-Germain to the San Siro.
Speaking to Sky Italia (here in English on skysports.com), the transfer boss dismissed the link, saying that Ibra's wages alone would be prohibitive.
"I think it is more than impossible for a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return to Italy," said Galliani. "He has a salary which is not compatible with the Italian league."
The Milan vice-president also touched on Dutch international Kevin Strootman, who had been linked to Milan only to join Roma instead.
"He's a really great player," admitted Galliani. "We followed him for a year too, but he cost too much and we left. At this moment, €20 million is too much for Milan."
The 29-year-old has since taken a pay cut to remain at the San Siro, and it is hoped that he'll be able to be a more consistent contributor this season, now that his future is sorted.
Speaking to acmilan.com, Massimiliano Allegri said:
It was a strange year for Robinho last season because he played well the first four months but then he was only thinking about Brazil because it seemed a done deal. He was allowed to stay there after the Christmas break but was then called back. Every year is different. Robinho is a quality player and I am very happy that he is still here.
Adriano Galliani was also positive, in an interview with Sky Italia (here in English via skysports.com).
"He cut his salary and extended his deal," said the transfer supremo of the agreement that kept Robinho in red and black next term. "I told him that he didn't do too much last season and so he's like a new signing and he must show his value."