Amid ongoing transfer speculation linking Milan with PSV Eindhoven right-back Denzel Dumfries, could the Dutchman solve our issues in that department?
Through a combination of injury troubles and inconsistency, the right-back position remains an area of concern as neither Andrea Conti nor Davide Calabria have arguably managed to fully convince and establish themselves as the first choice in that role.
There was real hope and excitement over Conti’s arrival in 2017 after his form at Atalanta, but back-to-back serious knee injuries have seemingly taken their toll on him as he continues to battle to try and rediscover the quality that he displayed in Bergamo on a regular basis, while Calabria hasn’t kicked on as hoped with a lack of discipline and lapses in concentration also proving costly.
With that in mind, it seems Milan may well be in the market for a right-back this summer, and while it would surely make sense to move one of the duo named above on first to create space in the squad and raise funds, there could be a change on the way.
As noted by Il Milanista, the Rossoneri have set their sights on Dumfries, although it’s noted that a swap deal involving Ricardo Rodriguez who is currently on loan at PSV can be ruled out, while the Dutch giants value their prized asset at between €15m and €18m. This isn’t the first time he’s been linked either, with MilanNews noting last week that he’s on our radar.
Time will tell if Milan are willing to invest in him, but the signs are certainly promising and it would appear as though we’re looking in the right place.
Scouting report on Dumfries…
The 24-year-old enjoyed spells with Sparta Rotterdam and Heerenveen prior to joining PSV in 2018, and he has now established himself as a key figure for the Eredivisie giants.
In 83 appearances for the club, he has also bagged 12 goals and 11 assists, and as the video below shows, he offers a real threat down the right flank with his attacking play while also posing a direct goal threat himself whether that’s breaking into the box or as an aerial presence.
However, defending comes first and he’s a strong, physical type of right-back who isn’t shy about getting stuck into a tackle, or a battle, and has a no-nonsense style about him but that’s importantly paired with the technical quality, tactical awareness and intelligence you would come to expect from a Dutch player.
He was also given the captain’s armband in November and has been in that role ever since, while he has nine caps for the Netherlands to his name too as he looks to be a solid bet to be the first-choice right-back in the coming years as he develops into a leader.
Named in the 2018/2019 Eredivisie Team of the Year, he has shown more quality this past season prior to it being ended early and so it’s no real surprise that Milan are being linked with him.
What we need in the right back position is defensive solidity, a reliable presence who isn’t injury prone and a player who can add a balance on the wings to complement what Theo Hernandez offers on the left side.
Dumfries seemingly ticks all the right boxes in that regard, and so if we are to move on from either Conti or Calabria this summer, the Dutch international would arguably be a sensible replacement to hopefully provide a long-term solution in that department.
Milan are looking to play a certain way under coach Stefano Pioli, as we’ve seen a shift towards improved and more entertaining football with a focus on possession. Whether Pioli remains or not ahead of next season, Dumfries fits the mould if that style of play is set to continue.