AC Milan have joined the race for Chelsea target Federico Bernardeschi, according to reports.
Italian publication Gazzetta Dello Sport claim that the Italian giants have now entered the race for the 22-year old Fiorentina winger, after reports last month claimed that Chelsea were plotting a bid for him as well. Antonio Conte is said to be an admirer of the Italian international, and he will know Berardeschi well from his time in Italy with Juventus.
Conte was also the manager who gave Bernardeschi his international debut during the Euro 2016 tournament, so reports of his interest in the winger could be well-founded. However, Gazzetta claim that AC Milan are now keen on the winger and will attempt to convince him to join them in this window.
Juventus are also said to be tracking the youngster and are looking to steal a march over their fellow Serie A rivals in order to land the youngster, although Gazzetta claim they are also keen on Marco Verratti who they say is growing increasingly tempted by a move back to the Italian league.
Gazzetta also say that Inter Milan are potential rivals for both clubs in the deal, as they look to rebuild a side that has been poor for several seasons now. AC Milan are in a similar position, having fallen far short of the targets a club of their size should be achieving, although they seem to be back on track this season, with the Rossoneri right up there on the table.
This season represents the third season in a row that AC Milan have failed to qualify for any European competition, and with the Italian side set for a takeover by the Sino Europe Sports group, their new owners have seemingly already given the club the go ahead to go out and start landing their key targets.
Bernardeschi has been in fine form this season, scoring 9 goals and picking up 2 assists in 18 appearances in the league for Fiorentina – 2 of which came as a substitute. The Italian international is capable of playing in a wide variety of roles, including second striker and No. 10, and has even featured at wing-back on some occasions.
A fast, strong and technically gifted left-footed player, the 22-year old Bernardeschi is considered one of Italy’s most promising talents. Bernardeshi is a fine dribbler of the ball, and possesses clinical finishing ability as well as an eye for incisive through balls. His performances this season have seen him earn the Man of the Match award on 3 occassions in the Serie A.
As Fiorentina’s most prized asset, La Viola are looking to insert a £85 million buy-out clause in the player’s contract but Gazzetta claim that a more realistic figure for the release clause is around £43 million. This would still represent great value for the club, but Bernardeschi’s current contract only runs until 2019 so unless he signs a new one, Chelsea or Milan could get him for a much lower fee than that.
As one of the most talented playmakers in Italy, there is no doubt that there is some element of truth to this story. And given the huge funds that are soon to be available to Milan, there could be a bidding war developing between AC Milan, Inter Milan and Chelsea for the highly-rated winger.