Villarreal have announced the acquisition of central defender Matteo Gabbia from AC Milan on a season-long loan deal.
Having let go of Pau Torres who joined English Premier League side Aston Villa in a big money transfer earlier this month, the yellow Submarines have added Gabbia to their roster.
The Spanish La Liga club took to their official social media page to confirm that the 23-year-old will be part of the yellow submarine squad for the 2023/2024 season.
The loan deal between AC Milan and Villarreal has been speculated about for a few days, possibly stemming from conversations that developed during Milan and Villarreal’s separate negotiations over Samuel Chukwueze’s move to the Italian powerhouse.
Milan will retain ownership of the 23-year-old and hope he gets more consistent playing time with Villarreal thanks to the player joining on a dry loan, which means Villarreal has no option or obligation to buy.
The player, who hails from Lombardy, made the jump from Milan’s youth system to the senior squad. After making his debut in a Europa League encounter in 2017, he spent 2018 on loan with Serie C club AS Lucchese before making his way back to the San Siro.
Gabbia has played seven games for the Italian national team in the U15, U17, U20, and U21 levels, including two at the European Championship. He is now 23 years old.
He has played a total of 2,384 minutes in 37 games in Serie A, the highest level of Italian football.
On Wednesday, 26th of July, 2023, Matteo Gabbia sent a farewell message to the AC Milan supporters before his exit to join Villarreal on a season-long loan deal that will run through the summer of 2024.
He said: “I wanted to thank all of you: fans, the whole team, and the staff. They have been four fantastic years for me, it has been a dream come true. I will always root for you. Forza Milan. Sending you a big hug, see you soon”.
The youth product from Milan left the team’s training in the United States to travel to Spain for his medical check and transfer paperwork.
The Rossoneri’s preseason tour of the United States included the 23-year-old Italian center back who left this week to finalize his move to the Spanish side.
Gabbia, a product of Milan’s youth system, saw limited involvement last season, totaling just 895 minutes across 17 appearances while playing under Stefano Pioli.
The news of the Italian defender’s departure also suggests that Villarreal would soon get roughly €28 million from Milan to sign Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze.
After the departures of Nicolas Jackson and Torres, Chukwueze will be Villarreal’s third high-priced player to leave the club this summer.
However, the Yellow Submarine have been able to successfully replace these stars with inexpensive alternatives, a testament to their excellent transfer policy.