Football's on hiatus for the next couple weeks thanks to yet another useless international break. On the plus side, that should allow Chelsea and everyone else to fully concentrate on transfer market madness, which, I suspect, could be even more frenetic than usual thanks to said break.
Chelsea's primary objective will be to acquire a defender or two in the next four days. It won't be easy, judging by our failed pursuits so far this summer, but hopefully where there is a will, there is a way. Unfortunately, there is no way forward with AC Milan's promising young talent Alessio Romagnoli.
With rumors of Chelsea submitting bids upwards of €40m for the 21-year-old making the rounds last week, Milan took the somewhat rare step of actually releasing an official statement, confirming Chelsea's bid, but also firmly denying that the player's for sale. Milan were quick to thank Chelsea for some reason, too, probably so that the Mario Pasalic loan that was in the works at the time would go through smoothly.
Pasalic's loan did go through smoothly on Saturday, and afterwards, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani declared the transfer market closed for his club.
"Our market is closed and if nobody leaves, then nobody will come in either. We signed Mario Pasalic today and this is the squad we'll use to face the campaign ahead. There are quite a lot of us in midfield and it's true Jose Mauri has offers, but the decision is up to him. On Monday I will meet his agent. Milan are complete in every area."
"We declared that Romagnoli is not for sale. I thank Chelsea, who made a very important offer, but we do not sell our jewels. Mattia De Sciglio is included in that list and so is Gianluigi Donnarumma."
-Adriano Galliani; source: Mediaset via Football Italia
While there's technically an "if" in there at the start, we can probably safely close this brief foray towards Romagnoli.
What's next for Chelsea then? Lazio's Stefan de Vrij was added to the shortlist a few days ago, as was Fiorentina's Marcos Alonso. Left back Ricardo Rodriguez might still be an option, while the long-term pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly might still end in success given recent rumors of the Partenopei bringing in not only Nikola Maksimovic from Torino but Eliaquim Mangala on loan from Manchester City. Koulibaly still hasn't signed the new contract offer supposedly on the table for him, and if Napoli do sign two new center backs, K2 could be on his way out.
Incidentally, both Koulibaly and Romagnoli started in Saturday's clash between the two sides in Serie A. Napoli won a rather event-filled encounter 4-2, which featured a two-goal comeback, then two red cards for the visitors Milan, and then almost a third for Romagnoli after his diving save on his own own-goal attempt. LOL.