Currently, Milan is ranked 12th on Serie A table. The team went through two stages to get to this point. First, appointing Giampaolo. Giampaolo came with a specific idea in mind and tried to apply it to the current squad. It was more difficult than he thought. After a very bad run, the management had to take action and sack him. The available options were Ranieri, Di Fransisco, Spalletti, and Pioli. Milan management decided to go with Pioli which caused a huge reaction from the fans. Second stage started here, Pioli surprised everyone by giving the team a recognized identity and competitive performance. The problem was that he was appointed at a point where Milan had to face Roma, Lazio, Napoli, and Juve. The performance was satisfying but the final result was not. So what is missing to get back on track?
1- New Blood
Under Pioli, Milan lost points due to individual mistakes. the Italian coach did his best to find the best version of every player but some of them could not get to the needed level. At this point, the changes are clear but it is hard to do a revolutionary change in January. In general, here are the names that need to be changed and their possible alternatives.
First, the departures:
Ricardo Rodriguez: Despite being a player with few mistakes, RR lacks the abilities needed to suit Pioli’s tactics, especially the pace. Since Pioli’s arrival, Theo Hernandez became the favorite to start every game. Rodriguez’s departure is very possible and also needed.
Lucas Biglia: Biglia is a top player when he is in-form but in the last couple of seasons he picked up many injuries and since then, he did not deliver especially when Bennacer started to shine and gain confidence.
Davide Calabria: One of the strangest drops in a while. Calabria was playing very well in the pre-season. But as soon as the season started, Calabria’s performance dropped too hard leaving Milan with no other options and becoming the weakest point. There is no doubt he has potential so it will be a win-win decision to allow him to leave.
Gabbia or Duarte (Loan): Duarte is the first option as a sub but when he plays, he does not feel solid and is frequently beaten by stronger and taller players. On the other hand, Gabbia has shown good quality under Giampaolo but did not take his chance under Pioli. One of them has to leave on loan to get more play time and improve. Having both of them on bench does not do good for anyone especially after Caldara’s return.
Brescianini and Maldini (Loan): Both of them are considered the best players in Primavera. They need to get more play time instead of being called to the first team and stay on bench. They have the quality needed to play constantly in the first team of smaller teams. Milan’s current situation can be toxic for them.
Franck Kessie: Most of the fans believe that Kessie has huge potential but they are tired of waiting. He has been under 5 coaches and still did not reach the expectations. It is another win-win decision because the he does not want his performance suffer any further and also Milan does not want to lose his value.
Suso: This player is a special case. His inconsistency splits the fans opinions because when he is in-form, he is the most important player. But when he is out of form, the team is struggling to create any chances and the right side is dead. Currently he is one of the most valuable players in the team. Selling him to get consistent player or relying on Castillejo who is working hard to prove himself will be a better option than keeping him.
Antontio Donnarumma: Gigio’s big brother has been the third option for a while and it is risky to rely on him since Gigio is always surrounded by leaving rumors and Reina is getting close to retire.
Second: The arrival
Bakayoko: He was an important player for Milan last season and he could have been bought for 35m but the management decided not to. He could not adapt to the Premier league and had to move back to Monaco on loan. His value has certainly dropped and it is the best chance to have him back as a backup for Bennacer.
Aurier: The Ivorian has been surrounded by transfer rumors a lot especially to Milan. there as a lack of options for the right back position and the team needed a top player. Conti is improving every match but a competitor is needed especially since he is a an injury-prone type.
Torriera: Another option for midfield. Currently the team relies on Bennacer and Krunic defensively. Torriera is a very suitable player because he can take both of their rules and he always gives 100% every match.
Plizzari: The young keeper is proving himself in every loan-move. As perviously mentioned, all current goalkeepers in Milan are not guaranteed for multiple seasons. It is the best to bring Plizzari back to Compete with Gigio and learn from Reina’s experience so when Gigio leaves there’s a keeper ready to take his chance.
2- Confidence and Adaption
Pioli has succeed to give his players the confidence they need to compete with any team without fears. What is next is to keep the formation and improve the tactics to provide the best possible version of Milan.
As perviously mentioned, the team under Pioli plays great football as a team and all is needed is to improve the individual performance. Here are some players who need to improve:
Paqueta: There is no doubt that Paqueta is a huge talent but his decisions during the games makes him less valuable than he actually is. It is Pioli’s job to give him the right instructions and keep him on the same page with the rest of the team.
Piatek: He came in as one of the best strikers in Europe numbers-wise. But he faced the same issue as the previous strikers in Milan. He is a box player who needs to receive the ball more than building the attack with the rest of the team. Poili’s job here is to improve the team’s creativity and maintain Piatek’s mentality in best condition to get him out of this situation.
Kessie: Since we are not yet in January, Kessie still has the chance to reclaim his position in the team. It is his last chance and he needs instructions to help him adapting to the formation.
Conti: His agent has defended him a lot saying he is working hard and has refused many offers to prove his value in Milan. Since Juve’s game, Conti is showing huge improvement and he is certainly preferred over Calabria. His defensive skills are improving but he still needs more work.
Leao: He proved that he has potential but he still lacks some first-team qualities to compete in Serie A. If he has the willing to improve, he will be as good as the top talents in Serie A and whole Europe.
4- Patience and Support
It is great to see the Curva Sud standing and supporting the team. They believe in Pioli as much as every fan. They are the leaders in fan base and their opinion affects the rest of the fans. All we need is patience and continuous support.