AC Milan beat Premier League pair West Ham United and Crystal Palace to the signing of Olivier Giroud in the transfer window, much to the delight of Serie A legend Franco Baresi (Sky Sports).
A new-look Milan side may have become associated with a buy-low, sell-high transfer policy – one that has paved the way for a return to the Champions League after almost a decade away – but the seven-time kings of Europe are willing to deviate from that blueprint when the opportunity arises.
In the past 12 months or so, Milan have signed three strikers in their mid-to-late 30s.
And, if his performance in the 4-1 thrashing of Cagliari last time out is anything to go by, the evergreen Giroud will be more Zlatan Ibrahimovic than Mario Mandzukic.
Milan happy they snatched Giroud away from West Ham and Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace were interested too, even if they, like Milan, are prioritising energy and exuberance over experience these days.
A serial winner such as Giroud was always going to opt for a European powerhouse, though.
And that man of the match performance against Cagliari – Giroud scored twice and set up another with a gorgeous back-heel – has gone some way to repaying that bargain £1.7 million transfer fee already.
“I have to congratulate Giroud, he is doing very well and has shown himself to be ready,” says the legendary Baresi, a six-time Serie A champion and now honorary vice-president at the San Siro.
“His signing was important. He can make a great contribution.”
In the end, Crystal Palace opted for another fancy Frenchman to lead the line under Patrick Vieira, although it remains to be seen whether £12 million man Odsonne Edouard can replicate his Celtic form at Selhurst Park after a difficult few months.
West Ham, meanwhile, will be relying once more on the exceptional but injury prone Michail Antonio as they chase the Champions League.