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Badelj’s agent backtracking on exit talk

With both the Milanese clubs possibly out of the running, the midfielder could stick around for a bit longer.

ACF Fiorentina v SSC Napoli - Serie A
Um, takesies-backsies?
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

For the past year, it seems like we’ve heard nothing from the Milan Badelj camp but his desires to play for another club. His agent Dejan Joksimovic has very publicly extolled the virtues of AC Milan, obviously trying to point his client that way, although Inter Milan, AS Roma, and Chelsea have all expressed varying degrees of interest. Now, though, Joksimovic has completely reversed course in the past couple of days.

In a recent statement, the representative claimed that, while several clubs were tracking Badelj, none had made anything even approaching a concrete offer. He went on to add that maybe the Croatian international would stay in Florence until June, at which point he’d try to move on during the summer.

While it’d be nice to imagine that this unexpected change in direction was down to a rediscovered notion of loyalty, it’s probably a good deal more cynical than that. The Rossoneri are not surprisingly more attracted to the bigger name of Cesc Fabregas. Meanwhile, Inter are on the verge of signing Lucas Leiva from Liverpool, which will fill the hole they have at the base of their midfield. Chelsea are looking at several other options (particularly Atalanta man Franck Kessie), and Roma’s interest never seemed all that serious.

As Badelj signed a contract saying that he’d stay with the Viola until June of 2018, he has almost no leverage to force his way out at this point. He and Joksimovic seem to have finally realized that it’s in his best interests to keep his head down, play well, and move on in the summer. While a bid in the neighborhood of €12 million might still be enough to convince Corvino to sell him (and his attendant circus), it sounds like we’ll have to save the farewell for another few months.