Bakayoko, Brahim Diaz and Tonali – Milan could secure all three as persistent rumours emerge

After what was a few slow weeks since the 2019/20 season was concluded, Milan are making waves on the transfer market. At least in the newspapers, thus far. In addition to the renewal of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which more or less has been confirmed by the Swede, the Rossoneri are ready to make some important signings. 

Stefano Pioli’s men did well to finish in sixth place this past season and inarguably was one of the best top two Italian teams in the post-lockdown period. Not just in terms of the standings, which show that Milan finished in second place this year, but also their style of play and the new-found mentality in the squad. Continue reading

Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap and Ended Loans


The last week prior to the official start of the transfer market was understandably quiet: Sampdoria pulled off the most interesting move by adding another talented youngster, Gonzalo Maroni from Boca Juniors, who can feature in few positions up front and has the potential to be electric. Genoa made a sizeable investment to have Andrea Pinamonti from Inter, who had a very promising rookie season in Frosinone and is set to be their featured guy up front moving forward. Fiorentina are giving the keys to their goal to Barlomiej Dragowki, who blossomed in Empoli last season, and thus sent Alban Lafont to Nantes on a two-year loan. Sassuolo permanently signed left back Rogerio from Juventus after the 18-month loan, Brescia did the same with Ales Mateju, who belonged to Brighton.

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Serie A Match of the Round – Juventus vs Milan


Few tilts were high-scoring and intense up until the final whistle in this round and Juventus-Milan was the most meaningful one out of the bunch. The Bianconeri came into the game looking to get closer or possibly clinch the title with an advantageous combination of results that would have to start with a win, while the Devil were seeking to rebound after three unsatisfactory results, as they had recently lost to Sampdoria and Inter and tied with Udinese.

The Old Lady recuperated and started both Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, but opted to rest Giorgio Chiellini and Miralem Pjanic. Continue reading

AC Milan delaying on Bakayoko transfer

AC Milan will wait until the end of the Serie A season before making a decision on whether to make Tiemoue Bakayoko’s move to the club a permanent one.

The French international has been an important figure in Gennaro Gattuso’s side this season, after joining on a season long loan from Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea back in August 2018.

He has played in 24 of Milan’s 30 Serie A games in 2018-19, with 10 in Europa League and cup action for the San Siro club.

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Serie A Match of the Round – Milan vs Inter


Goals galore in few matches in a very exciting Serie A weekend, which culminated in a riveting Derby della Madonnina that easily took home the coveted shout-out.

Milan approached the game looking to carry on the momentum that led them to snatching the third position away from the crosstown rivals with five straight wins. Inter prevailed in the last two Serie A matches, but just endured a bitter elimination from Europa League by the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gennaro Gattuso confirmed his go-to XI, with Davide Calabria, Tiemoué Bakayoko and Hakan Calhanoglu returning to the lineup after being rested last week. Continue reading

The many hurdles Gattuso overcame to get Milan back on track



Let me take you back to last November. Milan couldn’t keep a clean sheet to save their lives and then In the span of a few weeks, the rossoneri lost Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Alessio Romagnoli, Mattia Caldara and Mateo Musacchio to injuries forcing Gattuso to reinvent Ignazio Abate as a center back, give a bigger role to Bakayoko (who had been such a flop there was talk he would go back to Chelsea in January) and hope Gonzalo Higuain would carry his team on his back despite him being less than fully fit.

Be honest, did you think Milan had any chance of qualifying for the Champions League back then? If dealing with all of those injuries wasn’t enough, Gattuso had to also manage all the drama surrounding Higuain, who constantly looked like someone who had just been told his dog died, a player who left Milanello even faster than his former Juventus teammate Leonardo Bonucci and integrate Paqueta and Piatek into his squad on the fly.

Even for a manager with a lot of experience, this would have been a lot to ask- never mind one who had only coached in Serie A for about a calendar year and who had been hired from the club’s previous regime. While we often focus on Gattuso’s limitations tactically and his penchant for some ill timed substitutions, it’s now time to give him some credit.


It took awhile, but now Milan find themselves with one of the best defenses in Serie A. After a very problematic season on and off the pitch in 2017/18, Gigio Donnarumma is living up to being the highest paid goal keeper in Serie A- he’s also made sure the Azzurri don’t skip a beat in the post Buffon era. Davide Calabria has shown so much improvement that despite coming back from an injury, the highly rated Andrea Conti will have to wait a bit more to play regularly.

New captain Alessio Romagnoli has ended the debate on who is better between him and Daniele Rugani and is now considered the future leader of the Azzurri’s backline. Despite Mattia Caldara’s injury, Gattuso has been able to give Romagnoli a strong defensive partner by rotating Musacchio, Zapata and Abate very well. If Milan can now get either Ricardo Rodriguez or Diego Laxalt going they would be all set on defense for years to come.


For the past few seasons, the midfield has been a big pain for the rossoneri. But Gattuso has been able to turn the unit around by working closely with Bakayoko and turning him back into the player who made the Champions League team of the season at Monaco. Milan’s manager used the carrot and the stick approach with Bakayoko by criticizing him publicly while also working with him individually and he has now turned him into a player who looks like a bargain despite having an option to buy of around 40 million euro.

Speaking of transfer values, when the Paqueta deal was made official, many pointed out that it was a huge risk for Milan to invest 30 million plus bonuses on a young player with no Serie A experience at a time that the rossoneri were financially hamstrung because of Financial Fair Play. Fast forward to six weeks later and Paqueta has brought the unpredictability that Milan lacked in the midfield in recent years.


Paqueta hasn’t of course been the only brilliant January addition at Milanello. Piatek has drawn comparisons to Shevchenko after his brilliant start at the club, and now looks like a bargain at 35 million euro despite Milan failing to land the speedy winger their fans were demanding in the last week of the transfer window. It’s not easy for a manager to integrate one starter mid season, but Gattuso has been able to do so with a player completely new to the league and one who had just arrived last summer.

Like many others, I was rather skeptical when Milan hired Gattuso to replace Montella- he just seemed destined to be another former club legend after Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi who would end up as a sacrificial lamb. But what Gattuso lacks in experience, he has more than made up with his ability to motivate his players- most of which look ready to jump in a fire for him.

Despite all the challenges with injuries, integrating new players, off field drama, Gattuso has the team right where the club expected at the start of the season- they’re very much in contention for a Champions League spot, have a legitimate chance at winning the Coppa Italia, especially with Juventus and Napoli being eliminated- when you consider all of these factors, it’s hard to envision Gattuso not getting the chance to start next season as Milan’s coach- he has shown he deserves the opportunity to grow alongside his young team.


Serie A Match of the Round – Roma vs Milan


There were a couple of compelling and down-to-the-wire matches in this round, but the most anticipated one did not disappoint, even though it was not the highest scoring one, so Roma-Milan gets the shout-out.

Roma were coming off four hellish days, as they wasted a three-nothing lead against Atalanta in Serie A play and more importantly were smoked by Fiorentina in Coppa Italia. The vultures have started gathering over Eusebio Di Francesco’s head, even though the recent results were actually fine, but obviously a 1-7 loss in a big black eye. Quite the opposite for Milan, who immediately reaped the benefits on their investment on Krzysztof Piatek, who carried them past Napoli in the domestic cup, and had tied with the Azzurri in the previous round. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 17

Juventus: Sami Khedira should be back to the squad list after missing time with an ankle sprain. Joao Cancelo, Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli are not expected to return in 2018.

Napoli: Simone Verdi is likely to be called up as he has been working with the rest of the team for a week now. Mario Rui missed the last game due to muscle fatigue and has been excluded from the squad list again. Alex Meret has a sore shoulder that needs to be monitored. Allan has been ruled out due to back pain.

Inter: Kwadwo Asamoah is suspended. Matias Vecino (thigh) and Dalbert (calf) have been on the sidelines for the last few games, but they will be available. Joao Miranda is fatigued and is very likely to miss the game. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Udinese vs Milan


Most of the fixtures were lopsided in the weekend, but Udinese-Milan, albeit decided by a single goal, was intense and certainly a ton of fun. The Bianconeri were coming off a 2-2 tie against Genoa on the road, which gave Julio Velazquez some breathing room after four losses in a row. The Devil prevailed in the midweek make-up game against the Griffon and therefore racked up four wins in the past five games.

The Argentinian coach tinkered with his system, using Ignacio Pussetto as trequartista, giving Hidde Ter Avest his first start on the flank and deploying Rodrigo De Paul in the midfield over a more defensive option. Continue reading

Why Milan must focus on securing fourth place


AC Milan players applaud fans for their support.

AC Milan players applaud fans for their support.

Talking about AC Milan competing for any championship these days sounds odd to hear. The Rossoneri are years away from becoming the force that once conquered European club football. And on the domestic front, it’s difficult to imagine them breaking Juventus stranglehold of the league, at least, not in the nearest future.

After last Sunday the 1-1 draw against Cagliari, Milan Legend Paolo Maldini Summarized the current status of the team in a very reflective statement. “Being the anti-Juventus? Let’s be serious, we’re still a long way off being that. We’re aiming to reach the top four in the league and have a great run in the Europa League. Projects are important, but you can’t yet compare Milan to Juventus.”

One big take out from this comment is the admission by the former Iconic Milan Captain that, the Rossoneri will not win the Europa League. Sure, Milan are looking to have a great run in the competition, but how far can they go, quarter-final or Semi-final? And will that be a prudent use of their current strength or a focus discussion on securing fourth place in Serie A should be the way to go.

Despite the improvement in key areas this season, Milan’s performance last season suggest they need to choose between the Europa League and fourth place in Serie A. And for a club of Milan’s stature qualification for Champions league should be the Holy Grail.

Milan started very well in the qualification round of the Europa League last season, before witnessing some disappointing results and insipid display during the group stage. However, it became a platform for players such as Andre Silva  and Fabio Borini to make a case for a starting place in the team which did not quite materialised. The Portugal international, Silva, who is currently on loan at Sevilla could not translate his European form into domestic performance.

Gannaro Gattuso managed to take Milan to the round 16th of Europe’s second tier competition, but stumbled against English side Arsenal both at home and away grounds. Notwithstanding the Gunners ordeal during that time in their English Premier League, which read eight points behind fourth place, the chasm in quality, maturity and organisation was huge. Of course, Arsenal had a crop of players who had been together for quite a long time whiles the Rossoneri were going through what one will describe as a teething problem.

The Europa League could disrupt Milan’s domestic campaign, as it can put a strain on the squad. Compared to last season, Gattuso has got a bigger group of players must be tactful in how he rotates the lads whiles guarding against injuries. The inclusion of Samu Castilljo, Diego Laxalt, Tiémoué Bakayoko and Alen Halilović could provide the Diavolo cover in crucial moments. The team still awaits the return of right back Andrea Conti from rehabilitation after a long spell in the treatment room.

Milan kick start their campaign against Dudelange in Group F which also has the likes Real Betis and Olympiacos. They will qualify and possibly lead the group, but do they have the quality to compete against some of the big dogs who may fall from the Champions league. How would Milan fair against teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Sevilla or even Olympiacos and Real Betis in the group stage.

From an administrative perspective participation in the Europa league is a great call because it comes with some financial incentives, whiles from a supporter’s point of view, this an opportunity to witness European football at the San Siro, especially, when their rivals from the blue side of the City, Inter Milan, are involved in the bigger one, the Champion League.

It’s early days yet but, Milan’s domestic form isn’t that great and Maldini had some few words on how the team can develop “What to improve? We have to try to accelerate the growth of experience, we have an opportunity and the results of the other teams show it. The team is not yet aware of how strong it is, many guys have not realized how much they can give. Dialogue with us directors could be important for them”.

Certainly, having a discussion with the squad could do a lot for their confidence and provide them with a sense of self believe, but the bigger problem is, there are a few reliable players in this group.

Milan must choose between spending their energies in finishing fourth in Seire A or risk being derailed by their participation in the Europa League as they do not have the quality to compete against the big guns in the competition.

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