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Latest rumor: Milan wants to work a Bacca-Casti trade

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Really?

Villarreal v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

So apparently the latest rumor is that AC Milan would like to work a trade with Villarreal—we get Carlos Bacca and some cash, they get Samu Castillejo, whom they would need because they would be selling Suso, who has had breakout seasons in Serie A since joining Milan—for his release clause of €50m.

Now, there are a few things about this that make sense—Suso would certainly be someone who teams with money (EPL clubs, especially) might want to buy, and Casti would be a logical replacement.

However, it doesn’t solve the Bacca valuation problem, in fact in Villarreal’s mind it might make it worse. I don’t know what Castillejo’s release clause is, but let’s assume it’s €30m. I have to assume Villarreal would only be willing to sell Casti for that, and if so, first, Milan would have to pay Casti’s release clause—the entire €30m; then, it would be up to Villarreal to work out a deal with Milan for Bacca. One would not necessarily imply the other.

Yes, Villarreal could agree to accept less than the release clause plus Bacca, but why would we negotiate any further than we’ve already done? Especially since we realize if we got Casti to sign a new contract, his clause would go up to €40-50m? I’d figure Milan would have to pay €22m plus Bacca to get Castillejo; maybe we would agree to €20m plus incentives, but that’s hardly a major step forward for Milan.

There are some other issues here, too. First, other teams have been interested in Castillejo, including Napoli, and those teams would certainly be a more appealing destination, I would think, than Milan, which is likely to get hit with Financial Fair Play penalties, probably tossed out of European competition, and may well struggle to remain solvent if recent reports are to be believed. I can see Suso—and Bacca— wanting out, but I don’t see Casti wanting in.

Second, Milan’s standing with Villarreal is just a bit tarnished. The memory of Sr. Roig entertaining Milan’s brass to a paella dinner, only to find they couldn’t produce any money to purchase Mateo Musacchio, doubtless lingers.

Third, Milan needs as much money as it can get. I’m sure they’d like to replace Suso with another fine player, but they may have to bite the bullet, sell Suso and Bacca, use that €58m or whatever it is to pay down debt, and try to find another cheap acquisition to replace him (they paid €1.3m for Suso in 2015, btw).