In an ideal world, Suso would show a level of consistency that would dismiss any suggestion that his place in the Milan XI is under threat.
Sadly though, that simply hasn’t been the case so far this season and that in turn has led to a fresh wave of debate over whether or not he should remain in the line-up moving forward.
SEE MORE: How Milan ace has made brilliant impact but now faces big test to prove he’s long-term solution
Pros and cons of Suso
The 25-year-old has scored 23 goals and provided 36 assists in 144 appearances since joining the Rossoneri, and while those figures don’t necessarily jump out as being particularly impressive, he has been a hugely important figure in our side in recent years.
From the creativity that he offers from the right wing to his goalscoring threat, the Spaniard has shown on countless occasions that he can be decisive and massively influential for us, but the biggest issue that arguably still haunts him is his inconsistency.
Further, his general play and lack of defensive work leave him open to criticism at times, and it led to ‘Suso Out’ trending on Twitter in Italy this week as he now faces fresh question marks over his place in the starting XI.
As well as the inconsistency, Suso has also been labelled predictable. Whether it’s cutting in on his left foot and often failing to find the target or his usual Plan B of feinting onto his right and heading for the byline, every player has similar limitations and he has been effective doing what he does best, but surely there has been a lack of development and improvement in his game to add different dynamics.
Taking fan opinion out of the equation though, there’s no doubt a reason why Vincenzo Montella, Gennaro Gattuso, Marco Giampaolo and Stefano Pioli have all tried to make him a central figure in their plans, and so that must surely say a lot about his quality and what coaches see in him.
According to Tuttosport, Pioli is now considering dropping Suso this weekend for the clash with Roma on Sunday, and while that will come as welcome news for some Milan fans, others will no doubt be disappointed that perhaps the Spanish international could be used as a scapegoat for our struggles.
Alternative solutions without Suso
Perhaps the biggest frustration for those wanting Suso to be dropped is the fact that the string of recent Milan coaches haven’t even tested the idea and considered alternative options without him in the XI.
Each of them have persisted perhaps with their own tactical or positional tweaks, but Suso has rarely been out of the side for an extended period to give us an idea of whether or not we’ll actually improve in his absence.
That said, there are intriguing options on the table if he were to be dropped to the bench on Sunday against Roma, perhaps with the most obvious being a switch to a 4-3-1-2 without him as the trequartista.
With Hakan Calhanoglu high on confidence after his Man of the Match display last weekend, combined with the pace and ability to stretch defences from Rafael Leao alongside the goal threat of Krzysztof Piatek, perhaps that trio have the right balance to flourish.
Alternatively, Pioli could perhaps simply choose to swap personnel. Both Ante Rebic and Samu Castillejo could be deployed on the right wing in a direct swap, but given what we’ve seen of them so far this season, it’s hardly reassuring that they’ll make any real difference.
Or Pioli could think outside the box. Giacomo Bonaventura could be used in a less natural role on the right side, or perhaps Calhanoglu can be shifted across as both his goal and assist against Lecce came from moves down that flank in a free role which allows him to drift inside too.
Time will tell if Pioli firstly drops Suso, and if so, what his alternative plan is to succeed without him. Given the current situation, regardless of which argument you favour, there is a general sense that Suso could now be set for a fight for his place in the side and as Milan fans, we’ll all surely be hoping that he comes good and delivers consistently as the ideal outcome.
If he can’t do that though, Pioli has to try something different and avoid making the same mistakes as his predecessors by looking at his options and simply testing if we do perform better without Suso in the XI.