AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani says he believed he had agreed a deal to sign Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia until they were gazumped at the last minute by city rivals Inter.
The France international looked all set to join the Rossoneri after a deal worth around €40m was agreed, in principle, for the 22-year-old France international.
The player’s father told Galliani “see you in Milan on Monday” after a dinner with the club chief, only for Inter to step in with a bigger offer at the final hour.
“The agreement with Geoffrey had already been agreed the night before and was confirmed in the morning by the player and his father. At 1.30pm [on Friday] the deal was done,” Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Monaco had given us the all-clear for the transfer at €40m, with the payment spread over two years, paying €20 million [this year] and then €20m [next year].
“But after exchanging documents, at 1.30pm everyone just disappeared. Evidently, they had changed their minds or someone else offered more.
“I told his representative that in certain negotiations you have to act like a father would with his children. A ‘no’ is more difficult to accept than a ‘yes’, but we cannot accept the figures.
“Sometimes you need to show the courage to get up from the table and leave.”
Inter’s offer is said to include one lump sum of €40m plus performance-related bonuses.
It has been a bad week for Milan in the transfer market as Galliani went on to confirm they may also have lost out on Porto striker Jackson Martinez.
The Colombia international appeared all set to join Milan last week but could now be on his way to Atletico Madrid instead.
“If we save that €40m on Kondogbia and another €35m on Jackson Martinez, we’ll have an extra €75m to spend over the rest of the transfer window,” Galliani continued.
“Only time will tell whether that proves to be a good or bad thing for the club.”