Paolo Maldini spoke about Theo, Krunić and other possible new signings as the Rossoneri presented the defender and the midfielder today at Milanello.
The Milan squad is leaving to the United States tomorrow to play some friendly matches in the 2019 edition of the International Champions Cup. Today, however, the club presented the two only signings they’ve made so far: Theo Hernández and Rade Krunić.
Alongside them, sat Director of Sport Frederic Massara, and Technical Director Paolo Maldini, who faced questions from journalists in regards to the new players and in regards to the transfer market in general.
“The new signings? We had already spoken to Rade at the end of last season, with his agent as well as with Empoli, trying to play ahead because we knew that four central midfielders would leave [Bakayoko, Montolivo, Bertolacci and Mauri],” Maldini said to the reporters. “As for Theo, it’s true that we’re covered on the left-hand side, but we’ve always talked about looking for functional players and that doesn’t mean that we’re not still looking at players that fit into our system, both in regards to our tactical needs and with regards to good football in general regardless of what their positions are. If we can, we will of course bring in players that we think are good footballers.
“What I told Theo in Ibiza to convince him to come? It’s a secret between us and it will stay that way [smiles]. He is a young guy with an enormous amount of potential, he’s already played and won the Champions League. He is yet to turn 22, he is only 21 at this moment in time. He’s already played for a big club and unfortunately that chapter ended but this is an equally exciting new chapter in his career. He’s moved from Real Madrid and that’s why we’re so happy to have him here. Theo said he was getting tips from Marcelo? It wouldn’t be bad if he could get tips from Marcelo and from me, I have to say [smiles]. We’d be delighted if he could become a fusion of that.
“What attributes make Krunić and Hernández two players that can be at a winning side that we want to build? It’s a whole host of qualities. Krunić played for two seasons at Empoli in Serie A and he’s already shown a number of interesting abilities and we think that he has a huge room for improvement. He’s shown that not only for Empoli and also when he came to San Siro to play against Milan. As for Theo, he is definitely one of the best fullbacks in world football. He needs to become one of the Top 3 fullbacks in the world, I think that is a target that he should have. As for the club, Milan is currently going through a rebuilding process and I think they are really coming into the club at a right time. It’s important to bring young players to Milan to let them develop and we also have a very good coach in the shape of Giampaolo to make them work on the training ground.
“We were chasing Veretout and he’s gone to Roma? There were some negotiations, but clearly these are all parts of the transfer market, an opportunity comes up and ultimately a choice and a decision. I see that everyone is in a bit of a hurry, and it seems that Milan are behind, but let me remind you that the mercato ends on September 2nd. What we want to do is provide Giampaolo with a squad that will be ready for the start of the season. We want to give the coach a complete team as soon as possible. So we’re working on a number of things, but a number of components also need to come together.
“If Milan can bring in a player like Modrić? We’ve never negotiated for Modrić. But when Giampaolo was unveiled, I said in the press conference that this is a club that is identifying good, young profiles as well as some experienced profiles. We all agree that development of young players also comes about also thanks to the help of more seasoned and experienced players. So clearly, a profile like Modrić would be perfect here but I must confess that we’ve never done any negotiations with him.
“The market? As I said, the transfer window is very long and we do have certain needs that need fulfilling. If you are looking for quality profiles, they are very expensive, so there are a number of different negotiations and different types of players, but good-young players cost a lot of money. Experienced players might cost a bit less but have different attributes. But we are very much on the ball with regards to our negotiations, we are in no hurry, we must not be in a rush because we must not make any mistakes. But as I said, the coach needs to have a complete squad as soon as possible. The jokes people have made about Milan signing two players from a relegated side? Let’s leave the jokes as they are… there are good players in relegated teams or in leagues of not the highest level.
“We want to take our time over things but on the other side there are agents who are trying to blackmail us and push up prices? They don’t necessarily blackmail, but that’s part of the transfer market. You know, it’s like anything – demand is high and low towards the end of the mercato, the prices come down. But ultimately, we want to put a smile on our fans’ faces, we want our coach to be happy and the senior management also wants to be pleased with the work that we’ve done. So, the priority is really to try to make as few mistakes as possible. We are on the up, a number of players have left the club, because they were out of contracts as I said before. But in terms of bodies and numbers, we do need to bring some players in. The same is true in regards for potential departures.
“Where do I think the team needs reinforcements? We must recall the fact that we have some players that haven’t joined up with the group yet, Paquetá has to come back on the 30th of July and Kessié on the 5th of August, so there are some players that need to join up with the squad.
“Occasionally I read that there are certain targets that aren’t necessarily ours that then go to other clubs, so they are players that we failed to land… but you know, these are clearly news that are not coming out of the club. The idea that people get from the papers in regards to our mercato does not correspond to the real situation, we need to remain relaxed, calm and have the confidence to try to improve the squad. Four central midfielders have left the club, that is where we need to strengthen.”