Carlos Bacca is now an AC Milan player, having completed a £21 million move from Sevilla.
Bacca, 28, is a Colombia international, and has been at Sevilla for the past two seasons; scoring two goals in the Europa League final this year to help crown them as champions for the fourth time in a decade.
Thanks to his performances in a Sevilla shirt, Bacca is hot property, with Liverpool amongst the clubs to have shown strong interest in a player who has been feeding the rumour mill for several transfer windows.
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With a record of 34 goals in 72 league games for Sevilla; to all intents and purposes the fabled ‘one in two’ strike rate, it’s easy to see what the player brings to a team, and why several top clubs were reportedly after him.
What’s slightly less obvious is why Bacca ultimately opted for a move to Italy, and in particular to Milan.
AC Milan are bouncing back
With another season of underachievement behind them for one of the most famous clubs in world football, AC Milan are desperate to return to the former heights that saw them reach three Champion’s League finals in the 2000s, en route to winning a seventh European Cup; placing them second only to Real Madrid in the list of all-time winners.
As it stands, they have finished in mid-table in each of the past two seasons, missing out on Europe entirely. They find themselves in a league notably weakened when compared to its 1990’s heyday, with Juventus utterly dominant; winning the last four Scudetti in a row.
Now, after managing a disappointing 10th-placed finish last season, Milan are taking drastic action.
Driven by investment from Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol, who recently completed the purchase of a 48% stake in the club, the Rossoneri have released a host of players and pursued intelligent, quality replacements, starting with the manager; replacing Pippo Inzaghi with former Sampdoria man, Sinisa Mihajlovic.
They had found themselves thwarted in their first few attempts, having missed out on several key targets: Jackson Martinez was set to join before changing his mind and heading to Atletico Madrid at the last minute, whilst France international Geoffrey Kondogbia was stolen from under their noses by cross-town rivals Internazionale after a deal was thought to have been done.
Poor move for Bacca?
Happily for AC Milan fans, this deal has now been completed.
All the same; with interest from top Premier League clubs amongst others, Bacca could be seen to have made a questionable decision moving to a mid-table Serie A team.
At 28, this would appear to be the last big move of his career, and the choice to leave Sevilla at all is intriguing; they will be competing in the Champion’s League next season thanks to that Europa League win.
Milan, by contrast, will not be competing in Europe at all.
If the club can bring in the right mix of hungry, top-quality campaigners that their squad is crying out for, then a resurgence could be on the cards. They have made all the right noises so far, simultaneously announcing a deal for Shaktar Donetsk’s prolific Brazilian forward Luiz Adriano.
With Roma, Lazio and Napoli forming the current pretenders to Juventus’ throne, however, and Internazionale spending heavily to reshape their own squad under Roberto Mancini, there are no guarantees.
For a player of Bacca’s obvious talents, only time will tell whether he is putting his chances of glory at risk for the sake of an increased pay packet and the chance to be one of the biggest fishes in the pond.
What would appear to be certain is that in persuading him to come to San Siro, Milan have improved the chances of that resurgence, and of eventually regaining some of their status as one of the giants of European football.