SPOILER ALERT: Rafa Leao is on this list.

Where are they now? AC Milan’s most expensive signing of every season since 2010

AC Milan don’t tend to spend massive amounts of cash on players. It’s just not how they do things.

Literally half of today’s Premier League clubs currently have a higher record transfer fee than the Rossoneri, and West Ham are only €10,000 behind them. It’s always about how much you spend, though, it’s about what you do with those players.

Milan have signed some all-time ballers over the years, so let’s take a look at their most expensive signing for each of the past 14 seasons. The first one ain’t ideal…

2010-11: Robinho

Signed for €21million. These days, you will find Robinho in prison.

2011-12: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Having spent the previous season on loan in Milan, the Rossoneri signed Zlatan on a permanent for €24million in 2011. The most fascinating thing about this season, though, is that Milan signed seven Genoa players.

Is that even legal? Doesn’t feel like it should be legal.

Ibra really did not want to work with Pep Guardiola at Barca and, at Milan, he found a place in which he felt truly appreciated. Sometimes that’s all you need.

The Swede was prolific in Milan, because of course he was. Retired now, isn’t he? You knew that, though.

2012-13: Mario Balotelli

The Rossoneri made a ton of money in the 2012-13 season when Paris Saint-Germain came and snatched Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from their ranks. They put €20million of that cash toward Super Mario, just after he’d provided the assist for that Aguero goal.

People talk about the mad sh*t Balotelli got/gets up to a lot, but they rarely mention that he is f*cking class at football.

He shone for Milan in his two seasons there and, among his many goals, a long-range free kick that would have only just avoided a speeding ticket on a British motorway stands out.

Mario is with Adana Demirspor now, in the most inevitable transfer to the Turkish Super Lig in the history of the world.

Adana Demirspor's Mario Balotelli during the Turkish Super Lig match v Kasimpasa at Kasımpasa Stadium on April 17, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name all 11 clubs Mario Balotelli has played for in his career?

2013-14: Alessandro Matri

Milan brought in former Cagliari and Juventus forward Matri for just €11million in 2013. The forgotten man of Italian football actually had a pretty decent record for the Old Lady, but spent much of his Milan career on loan all over Serie A. 

Matri started his career in Milan before his 2013 return. According to his Wikipedia page, Matri spent the entire 2003-04 season—and we quote: “playing ludo with the under-20s.” 

Huge if true.

He retired in 2020 after three seasons with Sassuolo and a loan at Brescia (just down the road from Milan).

READ NEXT: Milan’s latest wonderkid is a master of resilience & the heir to Leao’s throne

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name AC Milan’s XI from the 2007 Champions League final win?

2014-15: Giacomo Bonaventura

Hell of a signing, this one. Milan only spent €5.3million on Bonaventura when they brought him in from Atalanta (that’s Bergamo Calcio for those of you who say ‘CAM’ instead of ‘number 10’).

The Rossoneri got six years of solid service out of the central midfielder before he left for Fiorentina at the end of his contract.

Bonaventura is still in Florence in 2024, and is still doing the business for La Viola.

2015-16: Carlos Bacca

Bacca was a straight up sniper back in the day. Still is, actually.

The Colombian had just enjoyed perhaps the best two years of his career at Sevilla when Milan splashed €33.3million on him. 

Two years in Italy, five back in Spain, and he’s now in his native Colombia, being mint for Atletico Junior at the age of 37.

2016-17: Gustavo Gomez

We have zero memory of Gomez at Milan. He cost Milan around €9.5million in 2016 but it never quite happened for him in Italy.

The Paraguayan centre-back played 20 games for the Rossoneri over his year-and-a-half spell in Milan before making his way to Brazil, where he’s been absolutely smashing it for Palmeiras ever since.

Gomez was selected in the Copa Libertadores Team of the Year three seasons running, in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Andriy Shevchenko celebrates after the UEFA Champions League match between Internazionale and AC Milan at San Siro, Milan, May 2003.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name AC Milan’s XI from their 2003 UCL victory over Inter?

2017-18: Leonardo Bonucci

An grandissimo signing for the Rossoneri, Bonucci arrived in Milan for €42million from fellow Serie A big boys Juventus.

Bonucci is one of Italy’s greatest-ever defenders, which is saying something considering Gli Azzuri’s penchant for a clean sheet.

He didn’t really like it in Milan. Spent one season there, it wasn’t going as swimmingly as everyone expected, and so Milan swapped him for Juve’s Mattia Caldara at the end of the season.

Apparently, they paid each other €35million for the respective players… ah, Calcio.

Bonucci is at Fenerbahce in 2024, aged 37. Feels wrong that he hasn’t played in MLS yet. Think he and Giorgio Chiellini are just a package deal in our mind.

2018-19: Lucas Paqueta

Milan was Paqueta’s first club in Europe after leaving Flamengo in his native Brazil. He’d been so impressive in Brazil that the Rossoneri were happy to splash €38.4million on him, but it took the midfielder a little time to settle in Europe.

Paqueta’s two seasons in Milan were good without being great, and he eventually made a real name for himself at Lyon. In 2024, we’re all very familiar with the goateed baller who regularly impresses for West Ham in the Premier League.

2019-20: Rafael Leao

The Rossoneri’s most expensive signing to date is Portugal’s light-footed forward, all dripping in flair and mercurial magic, Rafa Leao. €49.5million and worth every penny.

He’s a joy to watch. He tried to score a completely unnecessary backheel against Newcastle in the Champions League group stage, this season, which could not have gone worse for him, but that’s not the point.

The fact that he wasn’t really interested in scoring a boring goal, but in creating something beautiful that we’d all remember makes him our kind of baller and, for now, he’s still Milan’s kind of baller.

2020-21: Alexis Saelemaekers

Belgium’s winger feels like he’s been up-and-coming forever, but he’s 24 now—no longer a kid—and finally starting to shine.

Milan initially brought Saelemaekers in on loan in the previous season, but they made the transfer permanent in 2020 for €7.65million. He hasn’t quite managed to secure a key role in the team yet, but a loan move to Bologna has rejuvenated him, this season.

Milan are guaranteed a Champions League place next season, and Bologna look like joining them, so Saelemaekers is gonna be at the highest table of European football next season whether Bologna take up their option to buy or not.

Carlo Ancelotti is one of the greatest managers of his generation.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Carlo Ancelotti’s 25 most-used players in his career?

2021-22: Fikayo Tomori

Tomori spent the second half of the 2020-21 season on loan at Milan, and the Rossoneri formaggi grandi saw enough in the Englishman to make that move permanent in the sumer of ’21.

They wired €34.4million to Chelsea for the centre-backs services, and he’s been a starter ever since. Despite winning the Scudetto with Milan last season, Tomori only has 5 England caps, and only one in the past two years… Make it make sense.

2022-23: Charles De Ketelaere

There aren’t many 6’4″ attacking midfielders knocking around, and that makes De Keteleare very fun.

Milan chucked €36.5million Clube Brugge’s way for the Belgian, and he played regularly for the Rossoneri last season. Unfortunately, he struggled to find a rich vein of form in Milan and, this season, he was loaned out to Atalanta.

De Ketelaere flourished in Bergamo and has been a lot more creative and productive since making the switch. Milan will be hoping to reap the benefits when his loan is up.

2023-24: Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic, and Samuel Chukwueze

You get €20million, YOU get €20million, YOU get €20million! F*cking everyone got €20million from Milan last summer. Well, Valencia, Chelsea, and Villareal all did for this lot. 

In today’s financial climate, you’ve got to say that’s pretty good business for the Rossoneri. Three top young(ish) ballers all for a relatively low price. It’s also good news for USMNT, with two of their lads getting game time at a massive European club.