Calcio Bag - July 20th, 2018
Here is another edition of the Calcio Bag. We got some good questions this week, as always! It's a busy time in the football world as the World Cup has come to an end and the transfer market is starting to pick up. If you have any questions, please send them to me on Twitter (@CPerfetto11), DM them to me or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's get the party started....
"Will Edin Hazard leave Chelsea for Real Madrid?" Joseph via email
This is certainly the hot topic at the moment. Di Marzio has been reporting that Real Madrid are very interested in Hazard to replace Ronaldo as a star player, and are willing to offer up to 125 million euros for the player. It has been a dream of Hazard to play for Real Madrid, and the timing seems right for a move to happen. Chelsea do not offer him Champions League football, and if Real Madrid really want to bring him Spain, the financial offer paired with the player's desire to go there might be too much for Chelsea to fight. Although the appointment of Maurizio Sarri might help Hazard stay because of his attacking mentality, the coach is also a big question mark as he hasn't managed in the Premier League. Hazard will not want to get stuck another year playing outside of the Champions League and who knows if he will get the opportunity to move to Madrid again. I expect this deal to happen.
"Would a potential Edin Hazard move to Real Madrid unlock Gareth Bale to Manchester United?" James via email
I think that would absolutely be the case. Bale wants to be the star in Madrid and play regularly, if Hazard were to join that would make him the star man and Bale would have someone ahead of him in the pecking order. Manchester United are interested in signing a winger, and Bale would be a perfect option for them. Though he has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies, a move back to the Premier League with United could definitely be the push he needs to get back to top levels.
"Will Leonardo Bonucci remain at AC Milan or move to Manchester United or PSG?" - From @je_saraa via Twitter
The Europa League ban has been overturned today, and that will certainly help Bonucci's chances of staying at AC Milan; however, I still think he goes. It doesn't make sense for Bonucci or Milan to keep him on the team. Milan is a younger team and are struggling with FFP. If I were running the club, I would move Bonucci and use his wages to sign a top striker who can really make the difference. Alessio Romagnoli is a great defender, and a Romagnoli-Musacchio pairing would suffice in Serie A. Cristian Zapata is also a solid backup for either of those two, so Bonucci is not necessarily a need at this time. As far as where would he end up, I think PSG has much better odds than United. In Paris he would find his good friend Gianluigi Buffon and Italian national teammate Marco Verrati. Bonucci also ended up at Milan last year because he wanted to leave Juventus, but didn't want to go abroad. Paris, France is much more similar to an Italian lifestyle than Manchester would be, and I think closeness to Italy and lifestyle are very important to Bonucci.
"What does the uplifted Europa League ban mean for Milan?" Francesco via email
As I've written in a previous Calcio Bag, I didn't think financially or sporting wise the Europa League ban made much of an impact for Milan. Where it hurt them was in embarrassment. The players on the team would be upset to not be able to play in the Europa League after achieving qualification, and the ban uncovered a much bigger issue with their ownership. Now that Yonghong Li is gone and Elliott owns the club, they are in much better shape. The ban being uplifted shows that Milan have a strong owner behind them and can finally get back on the right path. It also allows the organization to keep the squad at a big enough level to play in two competitions. They are not out of the woods yet, as part of the ruling sent the case back to UEFA in order to implicate a fair punishment, so transfer or squad restrictions might be coming their way. The uplifted ban definitely makes the organization, fans and players all feel better about the future of Milan with Elliott behind them.
"Is Alisson worth 75 million euros?" Tim via email
To Liverpool, he is. The fee is very high, and as good as Alisson was last year, it was his only season as a full-time starter at a high level. In his first season in Roma, he was the second choice behind Wojciech Szczesny. He is a great goalie, with great reactions and the ability to play with the ball at his feet, but it is a very high price. It surpassed Gianluigi Buffon's record transfer fee of roughly 53 million euros and took place in 2001, so that's saying something. I don't think most teams would want to spend this much money on a goalie (although reportedly Real Madrid offered 60 million for him and Chelsea were thinking about making an offer of 70 million as well), but Liverpool needed to. They have a great attack, had spent a lot of money on Van Djik in defense, and put together a great midfield by signing Fabinho and Keita. Now, they needed to fix their goalkeeping issue. Karius cost Liverpool the Champions League final, so a team who had just gone through that would spend anything to sign a great goalie.
"Why is there no buzz around Leandro Paredes who had a great season in Russia?" From @ravisutariya91 via Twitter
You're right, Paredes has had a great year in Russia. So far this summer, I've read reports that Napoli were interested in him but have since signed Fabian Ruiz, and now it seems AC Milan are interested in the player as well. The problem for Paredes is he just arrived in Russia a year ago, and it might be hard for Italian teams to compete with his wages. I haven't read anything linking him to the Premier League either, so if he does move it seems like it would be back to Italy. Now that the Europa League ban has been lifted, Milan might become an interesting player in the transfer market, so maybe they will move to try and sign the player. It will be a tough transfer though because he has years left on his current contract and Zenit will want to at the very least, recoup the fee they paid for him last summer.