The race for Romelu Lukaku was won by Manchester United who paid £75 million plus £15 million in additional add ons. The initial reports had both United and Chelsea meeting the £75M price tag but Lukaku’s agent, infamous and despicable Mino Raiola, favored United while Lukaku favored Chelsea. It was also then reported that Cheslea would not meet the agents fee on this deal and so the rest is history.
Chelsea over played their hand really, this wasn’t about the money at all. They have more than £100M to spend and their negotiating tactics are what cost them. They low balled Everton and played around too long. Chelsea assumed that Lukaku’s desire to return to Stamford Bridge would be the overwhelming factor and they would get their man no matter what. Wrong. Between the agent’s influence, a reunion with Jose Mourinho, a handshake agreement to send captain Wayne Rooney back to Everton and Lukaku’s friendship with United midfielder Paul Pogba a move to Old Trafford was looking better and better. After spending a few days in Los Angeles with Pogba the decision was made and United got their striker to replace the injured and now exited Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Why on earth did Chelsea not include a buy back clause with Everton when they sold Lukaku back in 2014? What a terrible and short sighted decision. So now Chelsea go back to square one with really only three options on the board. They can pick up where United left off with Real Madrid and their negotiations with Alvaro Morata, they can pay a massive release clause (€100 million for non Italian teams) for Andrea Belotti or they can gamble with Dortmund and attempt to sign Pierre Emerick Aubameyang the exceptional, eccentric and ego-centric striker. My vote is option #3.
Let’s also recognize Wayne Rooney for a moment here. One of the best goal scorers and play makers I have ever seen. Rooney in his prime was incredible and his form might have declined in recent years but my god was peak Rooney amazing. I’ll never forget the overhead kick against Manchester City, that goal will live on forever. Rooney returns home to Everton and I’m glad he’s staying in the Premier League rather than making one last stop in China or the MLS. I hope Rooney has a great season and ends on a high note if this is the end.
While the two year saga of James Rodriguez looking to leave Real Madrid for potentially Manchester United, PSG or Chelsea dragged on Bayern Munich came in and shut everyone up. They snagged the Colombian midfielder on a loan deal worth a fraction of the cost Madrid payed to AS Monaco in 2014. Remember Real Madrid paid a record €80 million for James, Bayern Munich will pay €5 million for each of the next two seasons plus his full salary and they will have a full buy option between €35-60 million. Quite the bargain if this works out.
The move makes sense for Bayern Munich who are always looking to reload. In no way is James guaranteed a starting spot but he along with Arturo Vidal, newly signed Corentin Tolisso and Thiago make for a very nice midfield core. James Rodriguez reunites with former manager Carlo Ancelotti who was the man who brought him to Real Madrid where he had his lone productive season at the Bernabeu. In that first season he scored 17 goals which then dropped to 8 and 11 in the respective seasons following under Zinedine Zidane.
Did anyone else see Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan happening? I never did. The world class center back at Juventus has only ever been linked to Chelsea and his former manager Antonio Conte. Never did I think Juventus would sell him domestically and especially not to AC Milan of all clubs. Either way it did happen and the 30 year old is off to AC Milan for a reported €4o million. The past six seasons saw Bonucci and Juventus on top of the Serie A table but AC Milan are feverishly spending money to regain their former glory.
Last season AC Milan finished in 6th place in the Serie A, the two years prior to that 7th and 10th. They have not won the league since the 2010-2011 season when they had Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Thiago Silva. Their last domestic cup win was even longer you’ll have to go back 2002-2003 for their most recent Coppa Italia victory. This is a club who has 7 Champions League titles, 2nd only to Real Madrid’s 12 trophies, it used to be a prestigious destination for players (Ronaldo, Beckham, Pirlo, Seedorf, Maldini) and it appears they’re looking to restore that tradition.
So far this summer AC Milan’s new Chinese owners have spent over €200 million:
- €40 million – Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
- €34 million – Andre Silva (Porto)
- €22 million – Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen)
- €21 million – Andrea Conti (Atalanta)
- €15 million – Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal)
- €13 million – Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg)