Former Milan sporting director and club legend Paolo Maldini has revealed that he would’ve done everything possible to keep Sandro Tonali at the club.
Tonali, much to the anger of many Milan fans, had left the club for Newcastle in what was a big-money deal in the summer transfer window. Maldini was removed from his post as sporting director only some days before that, bringing about question marks around the current Rossoneri heirarchy and their planning.
Maldini has now spoken to La Repubblica about a host of issues, including his Milan exit. With the dust now settled from his departure, the Italian was also asked about Tonali’s exit and if he would’ve sold the midfielder if he was at the club at that point.
He said: “We would have done everything possible not to keep him, even in the face of such an important offer. We have never been totally against the sale of one of our important players, but there wasn’t a real need either. I like to remember that we spent an amount equal to about a fifth of the value of the transfer to the public domain to purchase it and that even in that case we had to have lively discussions with the CEO and owners. None of them wanted to buy him. Not even the scouting area.”
While Tonali did impress at Newcastle, he was embroiled in a betting scandal and was handed a lengthy suspension from playing the sport. Maldini was asked about that as well and he expressed sympathies for how things have transpired.
“I was shocked. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable he was. This makes me understand once again that not enough is ever done to try to manage and understand these kids. What happened to Sandro is a defeat for us too.”
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN