Milan’s pre-season schedule will get underway shortly as preparations continue this week for the current squad to be in the best possible shape for the new campaign.
Crucially, it will give Marco Giampaolo an opportunity to get his ideas across to the players and implement his tactical plans while also ensuring that fitness levels are where they need to be in order to carry out those instructions on the pitch.
While Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez are already busy acclimatising at Milanello, the wait goes on for more new signings in order to strengthen the squad.
Speculation remains rife as countless players are being linked with a move to join us this summer, but ultimately there are four major areas of the squad that Paolo Maldini, Frederic Massara, Zvonimir Boban and Giampaolo will need to be focused on before the new season begins.
Depth in central defence needed
While captain Alessio Romagnoli will continue to be one of the first names on the team-sheet, there is not only a question mark hanging over his best possible partner, but also the depth behind them.
Ignazio Abate and Cristian Zapata left this summer, while Mattia Caldara remains on the recovery path from a double injury setback last season.
In turn, that ultimately leaves Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio as the first-choice pairing in the heart of the backline as it stands, but competition is needed for the Argentine, and it’s hoped that any new arrival has enough quality to displace him in the starting XI.
Double midfield signing still on agenda
As noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ismael Bennacer is expected to arrive next month as his ongoing participation in the Africa Cup of Nations has delayed a deal being confirmed with Empoli.
It’s suggested that he will join Milan in a deal worth €17m in total, putting pen to paper on a €1.5m-a-year contract.
While it’s not ideal that he will miss a significant portion of pre-season to adjust and build chemistry with his new teammates, assuming a switch eventually goes through without any issues, he will be a pivotal signing to address the midfield. However, there are two areas within that department that need consideration.
With the ability to either play in front of the defence or in a perhaps more natural role as a mezzala, the 21-year-old has shown plenty of potential and quality already in his career for club and country, and while it remains to seen how Giampaolo intends on using him, he will fill one of the voids in midfield.
As per MilanLive.it, via the paper edition of Corriere dello Sport, Jordan Veretout remains the priority to emerge as the other solution, and so that duo combined could give the Milan coach what he needs in midfield to complement the options already at his disposal.
If the Veretout move collapses though, it must remain Bennacer and one more for the midfield, assuming that there are no further departures.
Decision must be made on second-striker role
Calciomercato note that Roma’s interest in Suso is building, but even in the event that the Spaniard leaves, Giampaolo still has the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Hakan Calhanoglu to play the trequartista role in his preferred 4-3-1-2 system.
In turn, the bigger decision is arguably over who will support Krzysztof Piatek up front, as if Patrick Cutrone is considered incompatible with the prolific Polish striker, then it’s a case of whether or not Andre Silva is the solution to that problem.
Giampaolo will undoubtedly be taking a close look at him at Milanello and will perhaps use the upcoming friendlies to assess their chemistry on the pitch. If it doesn’t work out and the signs aren’t positive, Maldini and the management need to be ready to swoop to make a pivotal change to ensure that we get the best out of Piatek next season.