Speculation over the past 48 hours has suggested that Milan will be looking to strengthen our attacking options ahead of next season, and it’s certainly needed.
In 26 games so far this season in Serie A, the Rossoneri have managed just 28 goals. Only three other sides have scored less, two of whom are in the bottom three.
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To put that into greater context, top goalscorers Atalanta have scored 70 and have played a game less, while league-leaders Juventus have scored 50.
This isn’t a new problem either. Looking back at last season’s final standings, we scored 55 goals in our 38 games, and that was the second lowest tally of the top nine sides in the table.
Changes are coming into place. Whether it’s Suso’s exit or Ante Rebic’s breakthrough, the identity of our attack and perhaps our style of play is shifting and it could yet change further this summer if recent rumours are to be believed.
Keeping Ibrahimovic first port of call
As per the club’s official site, the 38-year-old is with us until the end of the season, with an option to extend for a further 12 months. Four goals and an assist in 10 appearances and with some glaring misses which could have added to his tally, he has shown enough to suggest that he can still be an important figurehead.
His experience is invaluable, and his mere presence will no doubt help others to kick on and improve.
In contrast, Rafael Leao has managed just two goals and two assists in 22 outings. Yes, he’s young and inexperienced. But even with the raw talent that he has, you would arguably have expected more of an impact from him in the opportunities he’s been handed so far and so he looks a while off from displaying his best form.
Rebic has turned his season around and prior to the suspension of the campaign, had established himself as a regular figure in the XI. With a lack of leadership and that talismanic figure up front to lead the line though, Ibrahimovic’s ongoing presence in the side will arguably be fundamental in the short term.
€50m duo to inject crucial attributes into attack
Aside from the trio noted above, Samu Castillejo is the only other option in attack, and with midfield exits expected with Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura’s respective contracts set to expire, it remains to be seen if that pushes Hakan Calhanoglu back to fill in rather than be deployed out on the left where he has had a limited influence overall.
Milan simply don’t have a collection of individuals who have proven themselves on the pitch to deliver consistently in terms of being decisive in the final third. Until that is fixed, it will continue to lead to a blunt attack. We can of course wait to see if Leao kicks on, if Calhanoglu and Castillejo click into another gear and if the midfield contingent begin to have a bigger impact.
Or instead, we could go out on the attack ourselves in the transfer market and look to bring in two players who could potentially help fix some our issues in that department.
Tuttomercatoweb have suggested that Milan have made contact with Lyon over Memphis Depay, and a touted €20m offer with a future resale clause inserted into any agreement could be put forward.
Meanwhile, MilanNews, via the paper edition of Tuttosport, note that Luka Jovic is also a target, but he won’t be leaving Real Madrid for anything less than €30m.
Of the pair, Depay offers the more reassurance. While his stint at Man Utd was a huge disappointment, he has since bounced back and delivered consistently for Lyon with 53 goals and 43 assists in 134 games.
That’s back to the level he showed at PSV, and at 26, this is the time in his career where he should be preparing to take his game to the next level, assuming there is one.
In contrast, Jovic would be more of a gamble. 36 goals and nine assists in 75 games for Eintracht Frankfurt earned him a big move to Real Madrid, but his debut campaign at the Bernabeu hasn’t gone to plan.
While his stint in the Bundesliga showed he has the goalscoring instincts to be a clinical threat in the final third, there is still a sense that the 22-year-old could either be a prolific solution or end up being the next Andre Silva or Krzysztof Piatek.
With La Stampa linking us with Dries Mertens, who is perhaps as sure a bet as you could find given his impact at Napoli, perhaps snapping up the Belgian international on a free transfer would be the more sensible move.
Many will likely disagree with a double swoop and keeping Ibrahimovic, as it would in turn limit Leao and possibly Rebic too. Furthermore, the issue with a lack of goals starts further back than the attack as we need a creative and consistent supply chain coming from midfield and beyond.
However, through Depay’s all-round threat and Jovic’s finishing, combined with Ibrahimovic’s impact, influence with his experience and without having to shoulder the entire attack himself, it could all come together to make us a much more potent outfit to fix what has been a glaring issue all season.
With that in mind, the rumours make sense and are a welcome addition to transfer speculation concerning Milan.