In the past couple of days, reports linking Hakan Calhanoglu to Milan have intensified, Sky and BILD reporting that a deal is close, and that we may see Milan formalize the transfer in the next couple of days. What can the 23 year old midfielder/winger bring to the Rossoneri?
Where will Calhanoglu play? The midfielder can play as an attacking midfielder or on the wing, but it’s still to be seen whether Montella will stray from his usual 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 or something of the sorts.
Besides his positional flexibility, Calhanoglu can do it all. Averaging a 7.49 rating from WhoScored, albeit only playing 15 games after being suspended for an altercation involving former club Trabzonspor. In those 15 games, he scored 6 goals and 5 assists, an impressive tally for a winger. While he’s not the fastest nor the strongest, he is incredibly intelligent, and he can deliver great crosses into the box, something that could prove instrumental with young Portugese forward Andre Silva.
From long shots to free kicks to pinpoint passes, Calhanoglu is a great all-around player, and no matter where he lines up, I have no doubt he would be instrumental for Milan’s success.
Forsberg and Keita may be even better prospects than Calhanoglu, but the Senegalese seems unwilling to join any other club besides Juventus, and Leipzig seem reluctant to let their star Swede go. This is why Calhanoglu is undoubtedly the best option. He’s eager to leave, and Leverkeusen are willing to let him go, a combo that should suit Mirabelli and Fassone quite well.
He’s also relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things For around €20-25 million, Milan are getting a young, proven player who can come straight into the starting lineup and add some creativity into Milan’s somewhat bland attack. He can offer Milan a solid winger for five years, and stability and reliability is something that Milan lack desperately.
Sure, Keita might be pacier and more of a scoring threat. Sure, Forsberg might have been even better. But Calhanoglu wants to come, and he can come. He’s not a bad player by any means; in fact, he might be one of the best wingers in the league should he join, and he shouldn’t be compared to targets that Milan can’t have.
Plenty Of Potential
Calhanoglu’s potential is something that goes under the radar. The kid’s only 23, and he’s already had three great seasons in the Bundesliga. Who says he can’t get even better? He’s scored 11 free kicks in four years, more than any other player in the five major leagues, including superstar Lionel Messi. He’s a playmaker and a goalscorer, and if an experienced player like Montolivo (yes, even Montolivo can teach him a few things) can take him under his wing, I have no doubt that he’ll become even better.
He’s arguably Turkey’s best player (sorry, Turan), and he’s even younger than Forsberg. If he can mature at Milan, and if he adjusts well to Montella’s system and the Serie A, I have no doubt that the young midfielder could prosper into one of the best players in the league.
Calhanoglu flies under the radar. He’s underrated, and an argument could be made that he’s just as good, if not better than both Keita and Forsberg. If Milan manage to snatch him up, then I think it would be a great signing towards building a formidable roster. As a Milan fan, I’m all aboard the Calhanoglu hype train.
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