After painfully watching the UEFA Euro 2020 most valuable player, 22-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, leave at no cost in this transfer window, AC Milan’s fans can now take comfort in the signing of an offensive player with large international experience.
The 34-year-old Chambéry native, who lifted the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the France national team and the 2021 UEFA Champions League with Chelsea, will fly into Milan tomorrow and complete his medicals.
Giroud has agreed on a two-year deal with Milan for €3.5 million a season ($4.1 million) with an option to extend the contract for a third year, SkySports reports.
Chelsea will instantly pocket €1 million ($1.2 million) in transfer fee. They will then receive another €1 million at the end of the season if the player reaches certain benchmarks with the Rossoneri.
A 6-foot-3, left-footed center-forward, Giroud’s profile is perfectly suited to rotate in Milan’s starting lineup with Zlatan Ibrahimović.
The 39-year-old Swedish star, who endured several soft-tissue injuries during the 2020/21 season, will likely not be able to feature in every fixture of the upcoming Serie A campaign, especially when the schedule thickens due to mid-week games.
This is why Milan needed a replacement that could guarantee the same type of work in the final third of the pitch: Alongside his innate instinct for scoring goals, Giroud is a physically-strong, unselfish player that can offer leadership to a roster that still ranks among the youngest in European soccer.
Milan, the club owned by American investment management firm Elliott Management Corporation, will return after seven years to the UEFA Champions League, the most lucrative competition in European soccer.
Besides boosting Milan’s international prestige, featuring in the UEFA Champions League will contribute to partially restoring the club’s finances, a process that seems to be headed in the right direction considering the numbers from the past Serie A campaign.
Last season, Gazzetta dello Sport reports, the club reduced the debt that it had accumulated over time: Milan wrapped the 2020/21 season with an improved balance from 2020, when it registered losses for €194.6 million ($230 million) also due to unexpected financial consequences brought about by the pandemic.
Serie A clubs are also pressuring the Italian government to have soccer stadia back at full capacity for the upcoming 2021/22 season. This would allow matchday ticketing – an essential source of revenue – to finally reopen after 18 months of restrictions.
The Giroud deal is also an illustration of the good working relationship that exists between Milan and Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich when it comes to transfer negotiations.
Last month, the two clubs finalized another deal, as center-back Fikayo Tomori left London on a permanent transfer to join Milan. For Tomori, according to SkySports, Milan disbursed €28 million ($33.1 million) in transfer fees, with the player’s contract extending through the next four Serie A seasons.
The summer transfer window for Serie A clubs will run until Aug. 31, 2021.