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Villarreal lose another key star as AC Milan confirm transfer

It has already been a long summer for Quique Setien’s side.

Villarreal CF v Real Madrid CF - Copa Del Rey Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Samu Chukwueze has moved on from Villarreal after six years with the club. In that time he has established himself as an excellent attacking player and a regular with the Nigerian national team.

As his game has become more and more polished, it is hard to believe he is still only 23 years old. Last season, in La Liga, Chukwueze produced six goals and five assists.

Beyond the goals and assists, Samu created 110 shots last season, second most at the club, mostly through live passes and take ons. He led the club in carries into the final third and progressive carries.

What Milan is getting here isn’t necessarily a guy who will light things up in terms of goals and assists but rather someone who is radically disruptive to the oppositions defensive shape and their ability to prevent shot attempts.

There is not a clear way forward for how Villarreal replaces someone like Chukwueze. It has been a long summer where the arrivals have not matched the departures in terms of quality, and there seems to be a clear turning of the page on the era that saw the club win the UEFA Europa League and make the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League in back to back seasons.

In some ways this was inevitable. That success was largely built on experienced players in their 30s being brought in for small fees, and at some point in the relatively near future they were going to start aging out.

Losing a young up and coming star like Samu, however, just as he is really coming into his own, puts plenty of money in the club coffers but does little to explain what the next plan is.

Villarreal will receive 20million euros upfront as part of this deal, while AC Milan have also agreed to a further 8million as part of an add-ons package.