After months of speculation linking Milan with Angel Correa, the Rossoneri eventually secured the signing of Ante Rebic from Eintracht Frankfurt on deadline day.
As noted by Pianeta Milan, speculation of our pursuit of Correa has been rife all summer, but ultimately an agreement wasn’t reached with Atletico Madrid over a transfer fee.
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In turn, our focus switched to Rebic, and a deal was secured before the deadline on Monday as he arrives to bolster coach Marco Giampaolo’s attacking options on a two-year loan deal, as per the club’s official site.
What does Rebic offer Milan?
With almost 200 senior appearances to his name, coupled with 28 caps for Croatia, the 25-year-old has experience at a high level both for club and country.
He isn’t the most prolific of forwards, with 44 goals in 165 games at senior level. However, he certainly knows how to find the back of the net and has both a goalscoring instinct in the box as well as the ability to produce from distance.
His versatility is also a major advantage, given he’s been deployed as a second striker, centre-forward and left winger through his career.
Further, he also has previous experience of playing in Italy after brief stints with Fiorentina and Verona between 2013-2016, and so that should help him settle back in Serie A both on and off the pitch as he’ll have an idea of what to expect.
Rebic will certainly want to show improvement and progression since his last spell in Italy though, with his time at Frankfurt bringing out the best in him having bagged 25 goals and 12 assists in 100 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit.
— Team Milan Video (@TeamMilanVideo) September 2, 2019
Gif thread sul nuovo acquisto rossonero: Ante #Rebic. 🇭🇷🔴⚫️👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/nc3vpvpaUo
— TMC (@themilanclub) September 2, 2019
Solid fit for Giampaolo
Importantly, this is another signing that should fit into the system and style of play that we hope to see Giampaolo successfully implement in the coming weeks and months, assuming Rebic plays.
Competition for places is becoming increasingly fierce in the final third, and it’s hoped with the Croatian international and Rafael Leao now at his disposal, Giampaolo will look to bench Samu Castillejo and bring in our summer signings to show what they can offer.
Albeit he does have a reputation for ill-discipline and committing too many fouls, as reflected by the fact that he’s picked up 53 bookings and three red cards in his club career thus far, he does provide intensity and tenacity off the ball to help us press the opposition high up the pitch.
In terms of his ability on the ball, he boasts great technical quality, pace and good dribbling skills to take on his man and attack either down the wings or through the middle. Importantly, he has shown a creative streak to provide for others, and that will be key in getting the best out of Krzysztof Piatek.
Importantly, Rebic has shown a steady progression in his game that has come with experience and maturity, while he should still have his peak years ahead of him.
Last season was the most productive of his career to date with 10 goals and six assists in 38 outings, and so we should be signing him at just the right time to kick on and take his game to the next level.
Time will tell if he is capable of doing that, but it’s undoubtedly another intriguing signing for Milan and it’s hoped that Rebic can play a pivotal role this season.
Where will he play?
With Andre Silva now gone, Piatek will come back into the starting XI as the frontman. Giampaolo has stuck with Suso throughout pre-season and the start of the new campaign, and albeit he has tweaked his role and positioning over the last week, the Spaniard will surely continue to get the nod.
In turn, after a disappointing run in the last month or so and regardless of Giampaolo’s questionable persistence with him, Castillejo will likely be the man to drop out of that second striker/trequartista role alongside Suso and Rebic may well slot in.
Given the lack of depth up front, he may well find himself as an alternative option up top too, particularly when Suso, Castillejo, Leao, Hakan Calhanoglu, Giacomo Bonaventura and Lucas Paqueta are all fighting for places behind him.
It’s another great strength to have in terms of his versatility, but he’ll undoubtedly hope to establish himself in an ideal role and play an important part in our pursuit of a top-four finish this season.