Bakayoko, Castillejo, Laxalt complete new-look AC Milan ahead of transfer deadline

Emmeline MOORE
Bakayoko, Castillejo, Laxalt complete new-look AC Milan ahead of transfer deadline

AC Milan completed the signings of Spanish winger Samu Castillejo and Uruguayan midfielder Diego Laxalt on the final day of the transfer window in Italy on Friday, signalling the Serie A club's intentions for the new season despite a backdrop of financial chaos.

France international midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was also officially presented at the San Siro before the summer transfer window closes in Italy at 8:00pm (1800 GMT) on Friday.

"We won't sign any other player. We have made eight new signings and we are convinced we have handed (coach) Rino Gattuso a younger and stronger squad than last season's," said AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni.

Milan splashed out over 200 million euros ($231 million) on players last summer but finished sixth in Serie A and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

The club was taken over by US hedge fund Elliott last month after the Chinese owners of the Italian giants failed to repay debts.

Despite spending considerably less than a year ago, the northerners -- coached by former Italy World Cup winner and Milan midfielder Gattuso -- have been one of the most active Serie A clubs on the market.

A sign of the direction the club wants to take was the appointment of former players Leonardo, as sporting director, and Paolo Maldini as sporting strategy and development director.

Leonardo, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994, and 50-year-old Maldini are part of Milan's attempts to restore the club to past glories having finished no higher than sixth in Serie A since 2013.

- 'New era' -

Milan started their summer recruitment drive by signing Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus in a three-player swap deal that saw Leonardo Bonucci return to Turin with Mattia Caldara moving in the other direction.

France international midfielder Bakayoko's arrival from Chelsea was described by Gattuso as "another important signing in the club's new era".

Bakayoko has agreed a five million euro season-long loan move with a 35 million-euro option to buy.

"Milan won so much on an international level and in terms of history. I wouldn't want to be at any other club," said the 24-year-old Bakayoko on Friday.

"I learned a lot and worked very hard in the Premier League, but I think I might be more suited to Italian football.

"Gattuso is quite similar to (former Chelsea coach Antonio) Conte. These are both people who do things with passion. I noticed that even during the first couple of training sessions."

Spaniard Castillejo, 23, agreed a permanent deal to leave Villarreal, with Laxalt -- who played at the World Cup -- arriving from Genoa.

"Several clubs were interested in me but as soon as I got AC Milan's call I understood this was the best decision I could take and a great opportunity for a turning point in my career," said Laxalt.

Carlos Bacca, meanwhile, returns to Villarreal after scoring 18 times for Milan during a loan spell last season, with Italian forward Gianluca Lapadula moving to Genoa on a permanent basis.

However Gattuso failed in his bid to sign Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Elsewhere, Torino made two late signings with defender Koffi Djidji arriving from French club Nantes on loan with an option to buy, while Italian international midfielder Roberto Soriano has joined on loan from Villarreal.