Regardless of whether or not Milan secure Champions League football this season, key changes will be needed to the squad this summer.
Naturally, it’s hoped that we are able to secure a top-four finish in Serie A with just two games remaining, which in turn will certainly strengthen our ability to attract our top targets.
With the likes of Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Bertolacci set to see their current contracts expire, Lucas Biglia is not getting any younger while Giacomo Bonaventura will return from another lengthy injury lay-off, it could be argued that the midfield will be a priority.
Given the lack of quality depth in the wide positions, a winger would also certainly be welcome ahead of next season, but the midfield has long been an area of weakness for Milan.
As noted by Calciomercato, Brescia youngster Sandro Tonali is said to be one of our potential transfer targets this summer, with the 19-year-old remaining coy over his future.
He’s coming off the back of an impressive campaign in which Brescia have secured promotion back to the top flight, with Tonali bagging three goals and seven assists in 34 league appearances.
That in itself is impressive for a natural deep-lying midfielder, but beyond the statistics, his qualities and attributes make him an ideal addition to the Milan squad.
— Martino Puccio (@MartinoPuccio) February 21, 2019
There is no doubt that the Rossoneri currently lack creative quality in that department. Biglia, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie offer tenacity, combativeness and energy, but when it comes to their influence in the final third, it’s noticeably poor.
Between them, they’ve contributed seven goals and four assists this season, and while the obvious counter-argument is that creating and scoring goals isn’t their job, it indirectly puts pressure on others further up the field to produce the spark for the team.
With the likes of Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu failing to provide it for the most part, particularly during our recent slump in form, there is a real lack of fluency and direction in our play, making life horribly difficult for Krzysztof Piatek and Patrick Cutrone up top despite the best efforts of Lucas Paqueta who has made an impressive start to life in Italy.
Looking at an earlier phase of play too, whether it’s Gianluigi Donnarumma trying to play out from the back or the back four looking for a positive pass into midfield rather than continuously playing it between themselves or lofting it forward, Tonali is more than capable of dropping into that hole and pulling the strings.
Our midfield needs that something special. A different dynamic, a player with the vision and technical quality to execute the perfect pass to either set the likes of Suso and Calhanoglu free, or to break through a defence on his own, while also having the physical strength and awareness to offer defensive protection.
Tonali has that in his locker. He’s also young, Italian and highly-talented, thus fitting the mould of the current squad and the direction in which Milan seem to be building for the most part.
It’s easier said than done to go out and sign a top talent like the Italian international, as Brescia will surely be desperate to hold onto him this summer, while he is also still in the early stages of his career and must undoubtedly improve and develop his game.
Nevertheless, simply put, he has also made no secret of the fact that he supported Milan as a child and has spoken publicly on several occasions about his admiration for the club and Gennaro Gattuso.
While the Andrea Pirlo comparisons are premature and lazy to an extent given what the midfield maestro achieved in his career, there are clearly similar traits that the pair share. It’s something that Milan have lacked in recent years, and Tonali could prove to be a hugely important addition to the squad if a deal can be done this summer.
Highlight reel of Brescia’s Sandro Tonali in action – 18 years old, billed as the new Pirlo, about to make his Italy debut. And (predictably) being courted by Juve…#calcio #brescia #italy #nazionale #juve #juventus #tonali #pirlo #calciomercato
— Calcio England (@CalcioEngland) November 13, 2018