Leonardo spoke about Milan’s plans in the transfer market as he sat alongside Ivan Strinić and Pepe Reina during their presentations today.
Tomorrow Leonardo will be in Madrid with the rest of the team for the friendly match against Real (21:00 CEST kickoff), but today the Brazilian was at Milanello as he sat alongside Paolo Maldini for the official presentations of Strinić and Reina, who joined the club on free transfers.
“Going back to Milanello? It was very emotional, it’s great to be back at the club where I’d coached and played, to see everyone again and to see old faces was absolutely fantastic,” Leonardo said to reporters. “And then Paolo [Maldini] joined us, it was good to meet the current squad of players, I saw a motivated squad. I still need to get them all. I’m still finding my feet in the new role, of course there are some things to resolve and sort out, but I think that I need to get around it, it’s a new role for me let’s not forget. But, the feelings are positive and I’m enjoying it so far.
“Tiémoué Bakayoko [Milan want him on loan with option]? I don’t deny that we’re talking. We are interested in Bakayoko, but of course there are a lot of factors to be taken into account before, we need to assess the entire situation. We’ll see how things pan out, we still have a week to go before the transfer window closes. As I said, I can’t deny, it’s a possibility and we’re looking into it.
“Roma are interested in Suso? There have been no offers. We have met with the player and his entourage but it’s something we’ll do with all players, it’s important to meet up with them. The meeting had to take place, it’s important to lay down the situation, explain the situation at the club and it’s a very normal thing to do for the club, especially when new owners come in.
“We’ve never thought about his departure, there’s been nothing to make us think otherwise. He’s very important for us, these meetings take place to get to know the new owners. It’s something that we’ll do with all the players, it’s important to lay down the club’s plans and understand what they, the players, want. There’s no reason to think he can’t stay here. We didn’t talk about offers.
“André Silva’s future [who will leave to Sevilla]? Again, we’re trying to understand the situation better, we’re trying to understand what his intentions are, what he wants, what is best for him. It’s not easy because it’s a race against the clock, time is ticking down, there’s a week to go before the transfer window closes. It’s a tough time for all of us. We’re trying to understand the situation, there’s a possibility that he will leave the club, but how and where is still something that we don’t know.
“The situation with Manuel Locatelli? There has been no intention to let Locatelli go. It’s a very unique situation. It’s been in the air for a long time and it has been waiting. This wait has led to choices and decisions but it’s still not yet to be resolved. Since I’ve joined the club, I never thought about letting him go, we don’t want him to go but we need to understand his situation a bit better.
“He has to want to be here and be happy to play for the club, we want him to be in the best position possible to perform best for the club. He has to want to be here. Some things are fundamental in this Milan: a player must be happy to stay and want to stay, and we must have the duty to make the players happy, but it takes the desire to stay and respecting the choices of the club and the coach.
“Carlos Bacca [who is in the squad to face Real Madrid tomorrow]? He has an excellent rapport with us. He has his needs and his demands and we’ll see if we can find a right solution for him, which can also be staying at the club. Again, it’s a situation that still needs to be resolved.”
“If we’re looking for a winger [Milan have today been linked with Quincy Promes]? We’ve only just arrived, myself and Maldini, it’s not just about bringing in players, but it’s also about selling players as well in this period. We need a balance. The operations are designed to satisfy all the parties. It will be related, if a player goes then someone will go in, and vice-versa. At the same time, we’re trying to complete the squad and get the right balance for the start of the season. It was a big squad when we first arrived, and we need to trim it down and get the right numbers. We wait, and see what opportunities present themselves. Even if the squad stays as it is today, it is very competitive.
“Sergej Milinković-Savić? It’s a very difficult move, unfortunately, today, he doesn’t fit in our parameters and that makes it almost impossible. It’s a dream to sign a player like Milinković-Savić, he’s a very versatile player, strong in all areas of the pitch, he’s good in the air and he’s improved tactically a lot too. But unfortunately it’s not feasible at the moment that he’ll join the club.
“If I contacted PSG for Julian Draxler? I never thought about bringing Draxler, there has been no contact. There were rumours and reports but no, there was no contact with Draxler.
“If Milan will be playing 4-3-3 next season? Whether the team plays 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 is down to the coach to answer, not me. 4-3-3 is perhaps the ideal formation for the players we have, but the coach has ideas and he’ll certainly want alternatives too.
“Strinić? Ivan has only had about 10 days of holidays this season after the World Cup. I want to point out how keen he was to meet the squad and get down to work ahead of the new season. It’s a very commendable attitude and I want to pay tribute to him for that.
“We have two big goalkeepers in Reina and Donnarumma? We’re delighted to have two excellent goalkeepers in our squad. Gigio is a great goalie but at the start of his career. He was a bit unsettled last summer but it’s now in the past. Then you have Reina, his career speaks for itself, he has a lot of energy to bring, he has a likable character and that is important in a football squad.
“He can also bring his winning mentality on club level and international level. For the group and for the dressing room he’s a very important figure. So having someone like Reina and then Donnarumma is very important, and we also have Gabriel and Antonio Donnarumma too in the squad as options. Not to mention Plizzari, who has a bright future ahead of him. We’re in a very good position when it comes to goalkeepers. Reina is a serial winner: he’s won countless trophies for Spain and at club level. It’s very important and he will bring that winning mentality to the club.
“If there will be a goalkeeper for the league and a goalkeeper for Europe? Again, that is a question for the coach. The one in the best form will play and the coach will know how to handle best the situation. We face more than one front, we have a lot of games, so of course there will be rotation.
“But again, it’s down to the coach to decide.” Leonardo’s job in the next 7 days is to improve the squad of Gattuso so the coach will have the freedom to choose from a pool of greater quality.