For years Milan have lacked both quality and depth across the squad, but it appears as though this summer that issue has largely been addressed.
Whether it was replacing the old guard or waiting for a well-overdue overhaul of the midfield to addressing glaring issues such as the absence of a much-needed left winger.
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There have been consistent issues with the squad, and while that’s not to say that the current group is perfect and has no flaws, our transfer window thus far has addressed key problems and is now geared towards fitting a system and style of play to show that both the management and coach Marco Giampaolo have a clear plan and identity moving forward.
As seen during his spells with Sampdoria and Empoli in recent years, Giampaolo wants his team to press high and with intensity. The Italian tactician also wants quick, sharp and intricate passing to find gaps between the lines and to avoid allowing the opposition to track a predictable pattern of play.
We’ve seen the early promising signs of that brand of football in pre-season, and it’s hoped that as the players get fitter and become more familiar with the demands of Giampaolo, it will lead to not only more attractive football but also positive results to get back to the Champions League next year.
Looking at each new signing thus far, they’ve all either been made with a view of addressing a void in the squad or providing Giampaolo with a player that better suits his game.
New signings all address key issue or suit Giampaolo’s game
Leo Duarte is expected to be officially announced imminently, with a deal said to have been done as per Goal.com, with the defender brought in to provide depth as a centre-half following the exits of Ignazio Abate and Cristian Zapata.
Further, with Mattia Caldara still recovering from injury, it addresses a real problem with a lack of quality behind Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio, albeit Matteo Gabbia could be one to watch this season. For a club looking to compete on multiple fronts moving forward though, more was needed.
Similarly with the multiple exits in midfield, a deep-lying playmaker was needed to step in and add real class in that department to dictate the tempo and provide defensive coverage, and in comes Ismael Bennacer to now run the team in the heart of the midfield.
Rade Krunic will offer further depth and versatility to cover various positions, while Theo Hernandez looks a stellar addition and provides much more both in defence and attack compared to Ricardo Rodriguez in terms of showing more urgency and intensity to suit Giampaolo’s game.
Rafael Leao has also been confirmed as a summer signing, and with Patrick Cutrone moving on after being considered expendable given he was merely likely to be Krzysztof Piatek’s deputy, Milan now have a different dynamic in attack with the youngster’s pace, movement and ability to either play off Piatek or stand in if he’s rested.
Missing piece yet to arrive but Correa could be ideal
While those are the key areas addressed thus far, there is still one signing that’s needed. As seen in pre-season thus far, while we’ve played some excellent football at times in terms of our build-up play to get from defence to attack quickly, but we’re missing something in the final third.
Piatek will undoubtedly find his goalscoring boots when the season gets underway, as he has far too much quality in front of goal and there is plenty of creativity behind him.
Nevertheless, it’s that role that has been occupied by Samu Castillejo to date which has been problematic, as the Spaniard hasn’t been able to provide the quality needed as the second striker.
Leao will be an option, while the battle for the trequartista role could rumble on between Suso and Lucas Paqueta.
However, as noted by MilanNews, Angel Correa is Milan’s top target to solve that issue, while Calciomercato add that the 24-year-old himself has insisted to Atletico Madrid that he wants the switch to join us and isn’t interested in other potential destinations.
That in itself is music to the ears, but it’s his quality on the pitch that could make an ideal fit for Giampaolo given his intensity and work-rate off the ball coupled with his creativity and spark on it to provide a potentially ideal link between the midfield and No.10 and Piatek.
Others may disagree and look at other areas of the squad and believe that more is still needed to ensure we have enough to break back into the top four this season, perhaps most likely in midfield. However, in terms of stand-out signings, Correa could be the last fundamental, and realistic, piece to be added to ensure Giampaolo has the tools needed to get this side playing exactly how he wants them to.