Is the sleeping giant finally awake?
After a couple of years of failing to return to their glory days, Milan look set to make a run for the Champions League. With the signing of the defender superstar Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus, along with the signings of a couple of young talents, one of football’s sleeping giants might have finally woken up.
AC Milan is winning the summer transfer window
It’s been a busy summer for AC Milan, as the Rossoneri are working hard to strengthen the squad, with Vincenzo Montella now having a squad capable of pushing the club forward. A few years back from now, Milan has been facing an identity crisis and struggled to return to their glory days, where they dominated the italian championship and the Champions League. After failing consecutively to please their loyal supporters with titles, Milan are finally on the right track for, at least, a Champions League come-back, having strengthen their squad with several young talents, plus one of the greatest defender in history, Leonardo Bonucci, who is expected to be the heart of Milan’s defense. Well, lets get to the transfers.
Full scale renovation at the back: Bonucci, Rodríguez, Musacchio and Conti
Bonucci became the most expensive defender in Serie A history with the bold, and surprise move from Juventus for a £35.70 million. The italian defender has already won the Serie A title seven times, one with Inter Milan and six with Juventus. Bonucci is primarily known for his technique, passing range, and his ability to launch an attack from the back with long passes. A tall and strong defender, with a good positional sense, as well as good anticipation, solid tackling, and an ability to read the game and mark opponents, he also excels in the air, and frequently poses a threat from set pieces. In addition to his defensive, playmaking and technical skills, Bonucci has also been praised for his leadership.
Ricardo Rodríguez,a £15.30 million transfer from Wolfsburg, is also a very good choice for Milan’s defense. In spite of his 24 years old, Rodríguez have already very experience thanks to his six seasons spent with Wolfsburg, where he was a regular starter and a very important player. Although usually a left-back, his size and physique have also seen him be deployed as a centre-back on occasion. He is also considered a continual attacking threat, and has been noted by analysts for his exceptional stamina and pace, which allow for his constant, buccaneering runs up the wing.
Possessing good technique and distribution, he has become known for his pinpoint crossing and accurate left foot, and is also noted for his speciality in dead ball situations, such as corner kicks, direct free kicks, and indirect free kicks, as well as for his excellent penalty taking abilities, emerging as Wolfsburg’s first-choice penalty taker during the 2013–14 season. In 2014, his manager Dieter Hecking praised Rodríguez as “the best left-back in the Bundesliga”.
Right-back Andrea Conti (£21.25 million from Atalanta) made his debut in Serie A representing Atalanta in the 2015/16 season, where he played 15 games and scored 2 goals, but he caught Milan’s attention in the last season, where he scored 8 goals in 35 matches. He might not score eight goals on 34 shots ever again, but he’s still just 23 and his defensive output is very high, making him a very good bet. And while 26-year-old Mateo Musacchio (£15.30 million from Villarreal) hasn’t played more than 23 league games in a season since 2013–14, his potential as an aggressive, offensive center back is worth the risk.
Fresh blood and experience in the midfield: Franck Kessié, Calhanoglu and Lucas Biglia
Lucas Biglia won four Belgian titles with Anderlecht before moving to Lazio in 2013. He scored four goals in 29 league appearances last season as Lazio finished fifth, but has never lifted a trophy with Lazio. Biglia is usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, where he normally functions as deep-lying playmaker in midfield, and although Biglia is competent defensively, due to his work-rate and aggression, as well as his ability to read the game and break down opposing attacks, he is also known for his ability to dictate the tempo of his team’s play in midfield or create goalscoring opportunities after winning back the ball, courtesy of his good technique, vision, passing accuracy, and anticipation, as well as his personality, temperament and leadership. He is also known for his ball-striking ability from outside the area, and is an accurate free kick and penalty kick taker.
Franck Kessié (£23.8 million from Atalanta) was a target for Chelsea. In spite of his young age, Kessié is 186 cm tall and weighs 78 kg, he is strong and powerful on the ball, making it difficult for him to be tackled or dispossessed. He has a good turn of pace and can burst on with great acceleration and a very direct approach, and is also blessed with a powerful shot. Hakan Calhanoglu (£18.70 million from Bayer Leverkusen) was suspended for the second half of last season, but the 23-year-old is one of the best free-kick takers you can find. The turkish player has been linked to Mesut Ozil, a great playmaker, and stands out for his key-passes, shots outside the box and likes to play long balls.
Lusitanian blood up front: André Silva
At 21, André Silva (£32.30 million from FC Porto) is one of the better young hybrid center forwards in the world. What what makes Silva unique is undoubtedly his diverse qualities that transform him into a modern forward, able to keep possession, to help in the build-up, to maintain a constant high-pressing reaction to the ball loss and construct and distribute goal opportunities to his teammates. André Silva manages to combine his vigour and resilience with generous pace and incredible agility, often appearing in the wings as the game unfolds and demonstrating incredible ease at providing successful crosses for a striker. Another distinctive characteristic of his style of play is his heading. His jumping reach is extraordinary and the percentage of successful headers is higher than that of an ordinary striker.
As a consequence of his mobility in the field, he shows a matured and broad tactical understanding of the game, being able to offer the team interesting solutions in their offensive plays, his intelligence in occupying the half-spaces between the full-backs and centre-backs in simply brilliant, and mainly to show efficiency and maintain his profitableness in terms of goals in various tactical systems. He has played the last season both in 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 approaches, as Nuno Espírito Santo enjoys making tactical changes throughout the season and has been able to score in either tactical system, a competence very few strikers possess.