International Champions Cup: Milan revolution hits China with Arsenal and Bayern
AC Milan will road test their bold new era when the International Champions Cup arrives in China this week.
Head coach Vincenzo Montella welcomed Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia as Milan's 10th arrival of a close-season expansion bankrolled by Yonghong Li's Rossoneri Sport Investment Group.
More high-profile targets are reportedly in the offing, although none are likely to match the shockwaves caused by Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci's switch from Juventus.
Biglia, Bonucci, Portugal striker Andre Silva and new right-back Andrea Conti will arrive too late to feature when Milan face a Dortmund side at the start of a cycle of their own, albeit in a more understated fashion under new head coach Peter Bosz.
— Leonardo Bonucci (@bonucci_leo19) July 17, 2017
As was the case for his predecessors Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, a focus of Bosz's attention during close-season is keeping hold of a star name. Milan and Chelsea have both been linked to the 2016-17 Bundesliga top scorer Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
"We have [no offers for Aubameyang] on the table so far," Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke told Die Welt ahead of Tuesday's match in Guangzhou. "We will wait a few more days, but not for much longer."
While Aubameyang is with Dortmund on their Asian tour, much of the focus around Wednesday's match in Shanghai between Bayern Munich and Arsenal could focus upon an elite forward who is not present.
Like Bayern duo Joshua Kimmich and Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez is resting up after his Confederations Cup exertions, although speculation over the Chile hero's next move remains rife.
Manchester City have long been touted as a possible buyer for Sanchez, as were Bayern until chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge pulled his club out of the running on Monday.
Whether or not he has a future partnership with Sanchez to contemplate, record signing Alexandre Lacazette is expected to lead the Arsenal attack after a couple of run-outs in Sydney last week, while Bayern's star capture of the window so far – James Rodriguez, who completed a shock two-season loan move from Real Madrid to be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti – should also have his chance to shine.
Hi China pic.twitter.com/7YLQHCT1B3
— James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 17, 2017
Bayern then have a three-day turnaround before facing Milan in Shenzhen on Saturday, with no Klassiker showdown against Dortmund slated, in contrast to the Manchester derby and El Clasico fixtures that standout in the United States leg of the ICC.
China's fourth and final match comes next Monday, with Milan's city rivals Inter taking on Ligue 1's Lyon – late replacements after the Rossoneri's place in the third qualifying round of the Europa League denied Nanjing its planned Milan derby.
Luciano Spalletti, like Bosz embarking on his first season in charge, will hope to have warded off Manchester United's interest in influential winger Ivan Perisic by the time that game comes around. At present, it looks like being a losing battle.
Lyon have lost Corentin Tolisso to Bayern alongside Lacazette's move to London, meaning youthful arrivals Bertrand Traore and Mariano Diaz have the chance to quickly grasp centre stage under Bruno Genesio.