With the picture now complete in terms of the new Milan management team, the focus will begin to switch to the transfer market in the coming weeks.
Ivan Gazidis, Paolo Maldini, Zvonimir Boban, Frederic Massara and Marco Giampaolo will all mastermind our bid to get back to the top, but reinforcements will be needed to strengthen the squad this summer.
It’s noted in that report that while it’s expected that Milan will pay his release clause, there is no agreement on personal terms as of yet and so it remains to be seen if a move is confirmed.
Given he isn’t a particularly household name at this point, have Milan spotted a top talent that can offer a long-term solution in defence?
Who is Ozan Kabak?
The 19-year-old came through the youth ranks at Galatarasay but after making just 17 appearances for the senior side, he joined Stuttgart in January and was named Bundesliga ‘Rookie of the Season’ 2018/19.
He’s also capped by Turkey from the U15s to U18s and so seemingly has a fledgling career at both club and international level ahead of him.
Standing over 6ft, the Turkish starlet also chipped in with three goals in 17 games for Stuttgart last season, as aside from his physical presence, reading of the game and ability to play out from the back, he’s also a threat in the opposition box.
Across his 34 senior games, he has a pass completion percentage of 82.1%, and given Giampaolo’s desire to play an attractive brand of football which starts with building out from the back, Kabak would seemingly fit in well.
As with any young player though, he has plenty of improvement and development ahead and that will come with experience and maturity as he does look as though he perhaps lack a little patience and is over-eager at times to win back possession.
What have experts said about him?
As per the official Bundesliga site, he has been compared to Sergio Ramos given his impressive anticipation and physicality, while Stuttgart sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger has been full of praise for him.
“It’s incredible how worldy-wise he is for his age. It’s astonishing. I see him every day and am amazed at how he mature he is. He wants to know everything; he wants to learn German right away and understand everything. That’s the kind of attitude we need. He’s already a role model, despite his age.”
MilanNews.it note that it has been quite the rise to prominence for Kabak. From signing his first professional contract on July 1, 2017, the youngster has impressed in Turkey and Germany, has gained experience of playing in the Champions League and is attracting interest from Milan and Bayern Munich.
As noted in the tweets below, Turkish Futbol are certainly impressed by him at this early stage of his career.
He’s tall, strong, brave, good in the air & his passing is impressive even in attacking zones. Ozan is just 19 but already a leader. Was named Bundesliga Rookie of the Year despite only being there for 6 months. Isn’t the finished article yet, a bit rough in edges but v promising
— Turkish Football (@Turkish_Futbol1) June 18, 2019
In turn, while it’s always going to be a gamble going for a talented young player with the hope that he goes on to develop into a top player, the early signs are certainly promising for those who have had a close look at him in recent times.
As for the man himself, he sounds as though he has a calm head on his shoulders too as he perhaps looks forward to the next chapter in his career this summer.
“There are a lot of players that I admire, such as [Virgil] van Dijk, [Raphael] Varane, and Sergio Ramos,” he told the Bundesliga site. “I take a look at a lot of players, but I don’t have a specific role model because I am trying to develop my own style.”