While there is likely to be changes at Milan this summer, one area in particular which arguably needs more attention is the midfield with exits touted.
With the Rossoneri sitting in seventh place in the Serie A table as things stand, 12 points adrift of fourth spot with 12 games to be played, qualifying for the Champions League looks like an increasingly difficult task.
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It remains to be seen what further failure results in, as it could lead to changes higher up the chain with question marks being raised over Stefano Pioli’s future amid ongoing rumours linking Ralf Rangnick with a switch to San Siro this summer, as noted by MilanNews, via the paper edition of Corriere dello Sport.
Nevertheless, one area of the Milan squad has come under more scrutiny than others in recent weeks, with the midfield perhaps set for a revolution this summer.
Exits touted for trio
Speculation is rife in terms of targets, but as things stand, what we can prepare for are potential exits as Giacomo Bonaventura and Lucas Biglia are set to see their respective contracts expire this summer.
Biglia, 34, has made just seven appearances so far this season and is arguably no longer part of the plans at Milan which would make an exit the sensible solution for both parties, while La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Bonaventura is expected to join him in heading out the exit door.
Given his impact since he joined us in 2014 and the popularity he gained as a result, it will be disappointing to see him leave if that’s the case, but injuries have taken their toll on the 30-year-old and so the Rossoneri could be looking to freshen things up.
Meanwhile, as per Calciomercato, it’s suggested that Lucas Paqueta is also open to moving on having failed to build on an impressive start at the club and having fallen down the pecking order as a result. The Brazilian arrived with big hopes last year, and while an exit would feel premature, the rumours refuse to go away and his transfer fee could give our own budget a crucial boost.
Pillar of future for Milan
One player who should under no circumstances see his future up for discussion is Ismael Bennacer. It took the 22-year-old a bit of time to settle at first off the back of his ‘Player of the Tournament’ summer at the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, he has gone on to make 23 appearances so far this season as he has solidified his spot in the heart of our midfield with his dynamic, high-intensity and technically superb displays.
Naturally, there are still areas of his game which he can improve, but the foundation is set for Bennacer to remain a fundamental part of our XI moving forward, and it’s hoped that he’s joined by a capable midfield partner to allow him to flourish further.
Reinforcements linked to re-shape midfield
While they still haven’t hit the heights expected and ultimately required of them to kick on and take their respective games to the next level, given how vital Hakan Calhanoglu and Franck Kessie have been to each coach that they’ve worked under Milan, it’s difficult to see them going anywhere as they remain two solid options in the squad.
Rade Krunic offers depth and has impressed when he has been given a chance to feature, and so cover is needed in case of injuries but also to compete on multiple fronts if we’re in such a position moving forward.
However, there has been plenty of speculation over who could arrive to provide us with a real boost, and prising Sandro Tonali away from Brescia would undoubtedly be the dream addition for most Milan fans.
As noted by Calciomercato last month, Milan made contact with both his agent and Brescia, although it’s unclear just how realistic a swoop for the 19-year-old will be this summer as it’s noted that he could be valued at around €50m.
MilanNews have since noted that Tonali tops a shortlist of options which includes Samuele Ricci, Dominik Szoboszlai, Teun Koopmeiners and Florentino Luis, although Calciomercato report Szoboszlai could now be a primary target.
That quartet are undoubtedly a group of talented individuals with bright futures ahead of them, and it shouldn’t be a major disappointment if we’re forced to consider an alternative to Tonali if we can secure the signing of one of those players in question.
Nevertheless, from having shown his class in Serie A already to the technical quality he possesses, the tenacity and mobility showcased off the ball and his positioning and role which could see him fit in perfectly alongside Bennacer, it all just seems to point to Tonali as being the ideal signing.
With a big future ahead for both club and country, the obvious comparisons drawn with Andrea Pirlo given their attributes and appearance, there’s a reason why the Italian international is said to top that touted shortlist, and he could be a fundamental addition to this current side to help shape our midfield for years to come next to Bennacer.