Date: 29th January 2020 at 11:25pm
Written by:

After six seasons at the Stadio San Siro, Suso finally waves goodbye to AC Milan following his switch to  Sevilla.

On Wednesday, the La Liga club confirmed they had sealed an initial 18-month loan deal, with an option to purchase for €22 million that would become obligatory should they qualify for the Champions League.

The Spaniard heads home after an eventful stint in Serie A, in which he dragged a Rossoneri team that endured a turbulent half-decade forward, but also maintained an uneasy relationship with a club who have seen fit to cash on him after a long-term drop in form.

With his career in Italy over for the time being at least, Suso will no doubt have many of the Milan faithful assessing the impact he made since his debut in 2015, as well as his legacy in a red and black shirt.

Suso arrived at Milan for a meagre €1.3m in January 2015, having run down his contract at Liverpool, and initially struggled to make an impact, with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic sending him to Genoa on loan the following January.

Out of the spotlight, the then 22-year-old sprung into life and became a lynchpin for the Grifone, before new Milan coach Vincenzo Montella made him a central part of his own team the following campaign.

The Spaniard grasped his chance with both hands and would only miss 10 league games in the following three seasons, contributing 20 Serie A goals in that period.

However, the bigger picture at Milan was less than rosy as the fallen giants struggled to remain competitive and battled financial difficulties following the takeover by Li Yonghong. Indeed, it was often left to Suso to keep the Rossoneri’s heads above water.

Tasked with playing on the right of a front three, the Cadiz-native lit up the San Siro with a series of mesmerising displays of creativity, using the space he frequently forged for himself to cut in on his wand of a left foot and wreak mayhem.

Pacy and with the close control to match, Suso was too often the man Milan relied upon for goals and a spark, particularly as a series of strikers in the mould of Fernando Torres, Mattia Destro, Luiz Adriano and Gianluca Lapadula failed to ease the burden.

A fine brace helped Milan secure a 2-2 draw in the Derby della Madonnina against Inter in 2016, whilst also teeing up Manuel Locatelli for the only goal in a victory over Juventus in the same season.

The influence of Suso during Milan’s most troubled period, as they battled to remain relevant in the hunt for Champions League football from 2015 to the present day, cannot be overstated. Yet, there has been a sense of an end of era between player and club for some time.

Indeed, the past 18 months have seen a considerable dip in form for the winger, coupled with heightened rumours regarding a future outside Milan. Roma have long been interested, whilst West Ham United were also thought to be keen.

Struggling to make an impact at the start of the season under Marco Giampaolo, Suso briefly showed glimpses of his talent as Stefano Pioli took the reigns, but the overwhelming feeling of neither party being particularly keen to continue the relationship proved to be true, as Sevilla confirmed the arrival of their new man.

At just 26, Suso ought to have been at the heart of the Diavolo’s plans to move into the new decade and become competitive again, with a focus on young talent and looking to their creative spark to get them firing.

Yet, Milan saw a decline that they felt unable to arrest, and with his head turned elsewhere believed there was little point in trying to coax performances out of him. Instead, the opportunity to cash in on a player that had cost a mere pittance five years earlier proved too tempting.

For the player, it represents a chance to find his form once again in a more comfortable environment, but there will be a sense of regret that his ability and unquestionable impression on the hallowed turf of the San Siro did not come during a more stable period for the club.

Milan fans have also lost patience in their former No. 8, but this is coupled with an appreciation of his influence during darker days. Whilst his underwhelming recent performances may have tinted their evaluation of him, time will surely prove the impact of Jesus Fernandez Saenz ‘Suso’ on this famous club.