Speculation has been rife that Milan will look to strengthen our midfield ahead of next season, and AZ Alkmaar ace Teun Koopmeiners is reportedly on our transfer shortlist.
Ismael Bennacer has emerged as a pillar of the side moving forward having started to consistently deliver top-class performances in the heart of our midfield after arriving from Empoli last summer.
In contrast, Franck Kessie has yet to fully convince despite the important role he plays alongside the Algerian international, with his work-rate, tenacity and physical presence still crucial to the side in that department.
It’s still felt as though we can improve in that position though to bring in a player also capable of allowing Bennacer to flourish further, and a number of targets have been linked.
As per MilanNews, Sandro Tonali is said to top the touted shortlist, while Samuele Ricci, Dominik Szoboszlai, Florentino Luis and Koopmeiners are also tipped to be on our radar of potential options.
Many will be fully aware of Tonali’s quality and potential moving forward, while there is an argument that Ricci could be an ideal alternative if we can’t land the Brescia ace.
Just how good is Koopmeiners though, and should Milan be prioritising the Dutchman higher up the list of targets this summer?
Talented, versatile Dutchman with big future
Capped from U17 to U21 level for the Netherlands, Koopmeiners has come through the youth ranks at AZ and has gone on to make 110 appearances for the senior side while chipping in with 26 goals and 10 assists.
As the video below shows, his vision, passing range and technical quality make him a real eye-catcher in possession, while he has a tenacity, physicality and reading of the game to win back the ball and force errors from the opposition.
On top of that, he’s prolific from the penalty spot and also has the versatility to play on the left-side of a centre-half pairing, using his defensive qualities and passing ability to offer something in both phases of the game still.
There is perhaps an argument that he is a little too similar to Bennacer from their positioning on the pitch to their stand-out characteristics, but while the Algerian international is a bit more explosive and looks for the short, incisive pass, Koopmeiners has the ability to go long and could offer an important balance in midfield while keeping that steeliness and solidity in place too.
At just 22 years of age, he has his entire career ahead of him to further develop his talent and mature with experience. It’s promising to hear Milan have reportedly identified him as a potential solution in midfield, but time will tell if he’s ultimately the man signed this summer to form a crucial partnership with Bennacer in the heart of the Milan XI.
It won’t be easy to prise him away though, as he signed a new contract last year which will keep him at the club until 2023, and as captain and one of the top talents produced by AZ in recent years, they’ll no doubt want to avoid seeing him leave.