Things haven’t worked out for Ante Rebic so far this season, and reports claim that he could be set to leave Milan much earlier than expected.
As confirmed by the club in September, the 26-year-old joined us on a two-year loan deal from Eintracht Frankfurt with Andre Silva moving in the opposite direction.
It was hoped that he would add a different dynamic to our attack with his pace and directness, particularly if we continued with a 4-3-3 system where he could also show versatility and play out wide or through the middle.
Unfortunately for all concerned, things haven’t gone to plan as in seven Serie A appearances so far this season, the Croatian international hasn’t been able to register a single goal or assist.
In his defence, it has been difficult for him to settle and feel comfortable in the side given his lack of playing time. While he’s played just 177 minutes of football, he’s made just one start with the majority of his outings coming off the bench late on where he’s expected to make an instant impact in the latter stages.
That would surely be difficult for most players to adapt to, especially when trying to adjust to a new country, environment, culture and league, albeit he has had previous experiences in Italy but fairly brief ones.
In contrast, Rebic hasn’t helped himself either as there has been a lot of sloppiness in his overall play and some big missed chances where he should have done better.
Perhaps with a bit of luck on his side, those moments could have been different and we could be looking at a completely different player and picture of his future.
Instead, La Gazzetta dello Sport report that he could be sent back to Frankfurt in January, with his exit potentially leading to more room for manoeuvre to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Milan or possibly to target alternatives in attack.
Given what Rebic has produced in the Bundesliga and with Croatia though, it will be a real shame if he was to exit so soon after arriving and having made little to no impact in a Milan shirt.
The talent is evidently there, and perhaps it could also be argued that he hasn’t been given the chances that he should have had by now, especially with the likes of Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu struggling to play to the best of their ability and warrant a permanent role in the starting XI.
With his pace and ability on the ball to take players on, he could give us a different dynamic in the final third which would be a welcome change to what we’ve seen far too often in recent years. It could be argued that to see that confidence return he needs playing time, but it’s not something that has been forthcoming.
Neither Marco Giampaolo nor Stefano Pioli have been convinced to drop the likes of Suso and Calhanoglu to give Rebic a more prominent role on a regular basis to see what he can do with a run of games under his belt, and so that could suggest that the pieces simply haven’t fallen into place for him at San Siro.
If he does leave in the New Year, it would be bitterly disappointing to see him go without having been able to make a lasting impression as he would no doubt have been desperate to do so when he joined this past summer.