Why 18-year-old starlet could be ideal Plan B for Milan if Tonali swoop fails

Amid reports linking Milan with trying to sign Sandro Tonali this summer, there could be an alternative target to provide the Rossoneri with a key midfield solution.

As noted by Calciomercato, Milan contacted Tonali’s agent earlier this month, although his touted €50m transfer fee and competition from the likes of Juventus and Inter could prove to be major obstacles in us landing his signature.

SEE MORE: Five reasons why Milan landing €50m-rated starlet would be significant

Given how impressive the 19-year-old has been and with such a bright future ahead of him, ideally Milan will be able to convince him to join us this summer and he should still be the priority. If not, there may well be an excellent Plan B who is already on the Rossoneri’s transfer radar.

Ricci could be ideal Plan B to Tonali

Pianeta Milan note, via the paper edition of Tuttosport, that Milan are monitoring Empoli youngster Samuele Ricci and he would seemingly tick all the necessary boxes for the club in a possible signing.

The 18-year-old has stepped up this season to feature 22 times, helping to fill the voids left behind by Ismael Bennacer and Rade Krunic who both joined us last summer, while he is capped from U17s to U19s for Italy.

After a slow start to the campaign, Ricci has established himself as an important figure in the starting XI since November and as seen in the video below, his potential, raw quality and attributes are clear.

Tonali is undoubtedly further on in terms of his development, progression and the all-round quality that he can offer in midfield, and it’s obvious why he’s valued so highly and is said to be in such high demand.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to like about Ricci’s game too for such a young player.

Naturally, he has huge room for improvement. However, whether it’s the tenacity he shows off the ball to win possession back, his physicality in that role (albeit he’ll have to adapt to the top level in Serie A), and his ability on the ball in terms of his vision, passing range and speed of thought, they all stand out as impressive characteristics. He isn’t shy in displaying some flair either by trying a trick or two when evading pressure.

There’s still so much to work on of course, but it’s hard not to closely look at his raw talents and qualities and imagine him and Bennacer working in tandem in the heart of our midfield to provide a sound balance. With the energy, combativeness and mobility between them but importantly paired with technical quality on the ball, there’s a lot to like about a potential link up, just as there is with Tonali.

Given the way in which Bennacer has impressed since he joined us last summer and the strong relationship built with Empoli’s hierarchy after our recent business, it could be a smart move to revisit it for Ricci this summer.

With Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura both seemingly heading for the exit door with their current contracts set to expire at the end of the season, the midfield will be a problem for Milan.

Our transfer strategy has been centred around identifying talented young players available at low cost with significant room to grow in value and quality and who will likely command a low wage. Ricci will seemingly meet all those conditions and so if signing Tonali proves to be as difficult as expected, Milan would do well to try and position themselves to land the Empoli starlet instead.