After arriving to much fanfare in January last year, Lucas Paqueta’s time at Milan has gradually become more frustrating and disappointing as the months pass.
The 22-year-old has now made 36 appearances for the Rossoneri since his switch from Flamengo, but he’s managed to contribute just one goal and three assists in those outings.
That ultimately doesn’t make for positive reading, as given his ability to provide creativity in the final third and offer a goal threat from midfield, those numbers are certainly alarming.
Positive start distant memory
It all started so well for the Brazilian international too. Gennaro Gattuso wasted little time in drafting him into his plans, and while he showed glimpses of class, his ability to adapt and take on the tactical demands in Italy were impressive.
As noted by Football Italia, his agent singled out the former Milan coach for praise as he was key in Paqueta’s early success, and coupled with Krzysztof Piatek, it looked as though we had two quality new signings who could be crucial figures for the long-term future.
However, from his struggles towards the end of last season to now falling down the pecking order and playing a bit-part role under Stefano Pioli, it seems as though Paqueta is gradually heading towards the exit door if things don’t improve quickly when, or if, football resumes this season.
Cut losses, keep faith or loan him out?
As per La Gazzetta dello Sport, we may be heading towards a pivotal moment in Paqueta’s future with Milan.
All three options are seemingly on the table at this stage, as the Rossoneri must decide whether or not they will stick by him and keep faith, perhaps loan him out to allow him to rediscover his confidence and form or cut our losses and look for a sale to try and recoup as much as we can before his value drops further.
There is a quality player there, otherwise Paqueta would never have secured a move to Milan in the first place.
What is perhaps crucial at this point though, is that he’s shown faith and patience in his most effective role to give him an opportunity to show his worth and prove that he has a future at the club.
He arguably needs those factors to give him the best possible chance of succeeding, otherwise if he’s played out of position, given the odd 20-minute run-out at the end of games or snubbed entirely, then the situation surely won’t change and we’ll have to look at letting him go.
Time will tell how the situation plays out and if Paqueta and Milan even get a chance to improve depending on the coronavirus crisis. Nevertheless, if there is no more football to be played this season, it’s hoped we haven’t seen the last of the Brazilian as there was so much optimism surrounding his arrival and it would be as big a shame as seeing Piatek leave if he were to head out the exit door too.