Former AC Milan center-back and club’s technical director, the legendary Paolo Maldini, has openly criticized the Milan board for what he deems as a wasteful spree in the summer-2023 transfer market including the signing of the Nigerian striker Samuel Chukwueze, according to Soccernet.NG.
Maldini, a five-time UEFA Champions League winner, expressed his discontent in an exclusive interview with la Repubblica, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding his departure from the club.
The legendary defender expressed particular dissatisfaction with the quality of the transfers, given the hefty price tags associated with the players. AC Milan signed Samuel Chukwueze, 24, during the summer transfer window from Villarreal C.F. for a reported fee of €30 million after his impressive season with the Spanish club. Questions also arise about the appropriateness of his substantial salary, which reportedly is €5,5 million annually.
However, since joining AC Milan, Chukwueze has struggled to replicate his previous form, finding the back of the net only once. Maldini highlighted the Nigerian winger’s limited playing time, largely playing second fiddle to former Chelsea player Christian Pulisic.
During his tenure as Sporting Director, Maldini played a pivotal role in guiding Milan back to the pinnacle of European football, making them regular contenders in the UEFA Champions League and clinching the coveted Scudetto in 2022. However, just a year later, the club surprisingly parted ways with Maldini, leaving the football world puzzled.
In the interview, Maldini delved into the details of his departure, pointing fingers at the Milan hierarchy for the questionable signings made in the summer transfer window. Notably, he referred to the acquisitions of Samuel Chukwueze, Luka Jovic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Noah Okafor as a “waste of money.”
Maldini dismissed the notion that the market conditions compelled Milan to make these signings, stating,
“You don’t have to inconvenience the algorithms to take Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic, and Chukwueze, there was no need to sign them. You can’t compare the previous four transfer windows with the last one; we fought on the market with different weapons.”
As Maldini’s critique reverberates through the football community, Milan fans and pundits alike are left pondering the implications of the club’s summer transfer decisions and the subsequent departure of a revered figure like Paolo Maldini.