Thursday, June 21, 2018

Talking Tactics: How Should AC Milan Line Up Next Season?

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, Serie A 18 Jul 2017


MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 21: AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella issues instructions to his players during the Serie A match between AC Milan and SSC Napoli at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 21, 2017 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

AC Milan have been one of the most active teams in the transfer market this summer. There is no doubt about that.

The Serie A giants have spent over $200 million in new players during the current transfer window, and it seems they are not going to stop any time soon. They want to add at least another midfielder, depth on defence, and have set their sights on a striker as well. It has been rumored that they want to sign either Andrea Belotti or Alvaro Morata, so they are willing to spend if needed.

However, Milan now have enough players to form a competitive team if the season started today. How competitive? Well, this is how they would line up if the Serie A campaign started this weekend.


Every respectable team in the world begins with a world-class goalkeeper. And AC Milan have one in Gianluigi Donnarumma. The 18-year-old goalkeeper is one of the best goalies in Europe, and he has potential to be the best in the world sooner than later. There were rumours about him potentially leaving for Juventus this summer, but opted to stay with the team and extended his current deal. At this point, it is hard to imagine him leaving the San Siro outfit in the near future.

In front of Donnarumma, Montella will field a four-men defensive line where Ricardo Rodriguez and Leonardo Bonucci, two of the club’s new signings, will lead the way. Andrea Conti and Ignazio Abate will fight for the right-back slot, although the former Atalanta man has the inside track thanks to his impressive 2016-17 season. And Alessio Romagnoli, one of Italy’s most interesting prospects, should play alongside Bonucci at centre back.


Montella’s midfield should be quite similar to last year’s one. Featuring two central midfielders and a clear attacking playmaker, it is easy to see which players will fill the new roles. And there is a high chance we can find three new signings starting in the Serie A opener.

The two central midfielders should be Franck Kessie and Lucas Biglia. Both players are competent midfielders, and both have plenty of experience in Italy’s top flight. The 31-year-old Argentinian midfielder featured regularly for Lazio over the past four seasons, and his experience should be quite useful since he knows the league quite well. Meanwhile, Kessie was one of the best midfielders in Italy over the past year, and it was one of the main reasons why Atalanta reached the UEFA Europa League.

Kessie’s main problem is his lack of experience as he is only 20 years old, but he should form an incredible tandem with Biglia. He shown an impressive scoring ability as well, netting six goals and adding three assists in the past season.

In front of the Kessie-Biglia tandem, we should find Hakan Calhanoglu. Considered one of the top playmakers in Europe, the Turkish international wanted a fresh start after his stint with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. It remains to be seen whether his game can translate to the Serie A effectively. However, he has enough talent to make an instant impact in Milan.


The attacking line should feature some new names as well. With two wingers and a central striker, Milan will try to use the width of the pitch to unsettle the opposing defences.

The plan should be quite similar to last year’s one. During the past season, Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura featured quite regularly on the right and left flank, respectively. Suso was Milan’s top player and is considered one of the cornerstones of the club. As the saying goes: “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. And there is no question Suso has enough talent to gain a prominent role in Milan once again.

Meanwhile, Bonaventura missed the last 16 games of the Serie A season because of a thigh injury. But since he should be healthy for the start of the new season, there is no question he will receive every chance to start. Especially now that Gerard Deulofeu is no longer on the side.

Between the two wingers, Montella is likely to choose Andre Silva as his regular starter. The Portuguese represents a clear upgrade over Carlos Bacca and Gianluca Lapadula. And he joins Milan after clinching a spot as a regular starter in Portugal’s National Team during the 2017 Confederations Cup. If anything, he is ready to take a bigger challenge on his career. And if we analyse his playing style, we will find his game is tailor-made for the Serie A.

Summing up, Milan lineup would be the following:

  • GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma
  • RB: Andrea Conti
  • CB: Leonardo Bonucci
  • CB: Alessio Romagnoli
  • LB: Ricardo Rodriguez
  • CM: Franck Kessie
  • CM: Lucas Biglia
  • RW: Suso
  • AM: Hakan Calhanoglu
  • LW: Giacomo Bonaventura
  • CF: Andre Silva

Is that enough to win the title against the likes of Juventus, AS Roma or Napoli? It remains to be seen. But there is no question they have already improved massively compared to last season.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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