M’Baye Niang made his first Champions League appearance of the season last night for AC Milan as he came on during the win over Barcelona.
Niang is a 19-year-old winger who can also play in the pocket just behind a main striker, the sort of versatile attacking star that most Premier League clubs dream of, or so you’d think.
Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Everton all handed trials to Niang before he joined AC Milan from Caen for the 2012/2013 season.
All four of the Premier League giants must have seen something they didn’t like in him or they simply sat around for a little too long, as was the case with Arsenal, which saw him fall through the net and into the hands of the Serie A team.
It seemed to trigger quite the battle for him in England last summer with reports of individuals going behind the back of each club, trying to get an advantage in order to put in the first offer.
After all the fuss, it turned out to be pointless as he was invited to go to Milan before signing for them, where he was apparently sweet talked into the move by having dinner with the club’s vice-president Adriano Galliani.
How they must regret not giving him whatever he wanted at the time because he looks as though he’s going to have a very long and successful career in the game.
It’s not uncommon for players to go on trial to various clubs and not walk away with a contract but the fact AC Milan think he’s good enough to come on in a game against Barcelona says volumes about his talent.
All four Premier League teams could definitely use him in their sides but it would now cost them millions as opposed to being something they could sort out behind closed doors, for an undisclosed fee.
It’s important to point out that Arsenal did not exactly do nothing because they did try and push through a transfer which stalled because of the transfer fee. The Gunners had a bid rejected but were reportedly unwilling to up their offer.
Niang is currently on a three-year deal with Milan which expires in the summer of 2015. Hopefully, one of the four sides that originally tried to pick him up could sign him on a free if he doesn’t sign on at Milan or doesn’t get sold.
If you’re of a fan of a club that had the chance to sign him, do you regret you didn’t?
image: © olaszmelo