Sunday July 2 2017
Calhanoglu can light up San Siro

New buy Hakan Calhanoglu brings much more than just free kicks to Milan, writes Tom Scholes.

As Milan look set to add another signing to their already impressive list of transfers this summer, many fans may be wondering what to expect from latest new boy Hakan Calhanoglu. What can he bring to the side, and how does he fit into the set-up under Vincenzo Montella?

The German-born Turkish international is known for predominantly being an attacking midfielder who can apply himself across the line on either flank and through the middle, where he can influence the play more. However, most of his game time this season for Bayer Leverkusen has been on the left flank, where he has been very productive, scoring five goals and providing his teammates with three assists.

If Montella plans on keeping the 4-3-3 formation that he used for a large portion of last season, Calhanoglu could prove to be key in the system. He may not be as quick or direct as Gerard Deulofeu or Suso, but his crossing ability and tendency to take shots from distance could be something that Milan utilize well, especially if they sign another striker like Nikola Kalinic from Fiorentina.

As everyone will be aware, the biggest strength is his free kicks. Calhanoglu is well known for being one of Europe’s best free kick takers and can make set-pieces one of the biggest goal threats for Milan. Whether he is shooting for goal (which he is more than capable of doing, even from about 45 yards out) or providing crosses from corners or deeper free kicks, Calhanoglu can be deadly. It’s an area the Rossoneri have been really lacking in for some time now.

In an inconsistent and disruptive Bayer Leverkusen side, Calhanoglu hasn’t kicked on and become the player many expected he would from his Hamburg days, but not many players could have thrived in the environment at Leverkusen recently. Various managerial struggles and underperforming in the Bundesliga meant that Calhanoglu stagnated at the club. He was also banned for the last four months due to a breach of contract dispute going back to 2011.

In a positive environment surrounded by good players, Calhanoglu could be a star. His classy play next to the rest of the Milan team could be what he needs to excel and this is a move that may well work wonders for him. The Turk’s style of play is somewhat suited to Serie A and can be explosive in certain areas of the pitch, so could prove to be a real match winner for the Rossoneri.

The Milan fans will take to him, as he’s one of those players to have the ability to pull absolutely anything out of the bag at any given moment. As an Italian commentator said, “at last, a player that makes Milan fans want to go back to the stadium.”

He may have been hot and cold in Germany for Leverkusen, but few players have been able to maintain good form at that club in recent seasons.

Calhanoglu has the potential to be a top player in a new-look Milan team and, at the age of 23, he still has lots of time to improve. For €20m plus bonuses, this could be one of the bargains of the transfer window.  

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Have your say...
I am really happy for rival Milan and hope they could compete with Juve next year and so on. Also , in CL. Calhanoglu is really a good addition. Also, great free-kick taker. He will certainly suit for the role advanced playmaker. Don't agree he is too similar to Bonaventura. Very good transfer.
on the 6th July, 2017 at 7:15pm
@Davide for starters we cannot offer UCL this season which limits us to certan players as we cannot offer the wages clubs such as UTD can to compensate for this, like they did with Mkhitaryan. Also, what world class creators are available this summer. Honestly I don't see how James is much better than Hakan and definitely not for 60-70 mil. World class attackers don't come cheap and they are rarely available.
on the 5th July, 2017 at 2:10pm
@dami I mean that Milan should be looking for someone better than Bonaventura in that key position if they really want to challenge for the scudetto. In 2010 Milan released Ronaldinho and the underperforming loser Huntelaar - and replaced them with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho, both huge upgrades. Now they're going sideways once again, throwing the dice on another decent but not great player, in the time-honoured tradition of greats like Birsa, Bojan, Suso, Essien, Luiz Adriano, Ocampos ecc...
on the 5th July, 2017 at 1:37pm
@ Dami Ok I'll offer a compromise: if I'm wrong and this season is a great success (title challenge) then I'll eat my digital words. If it's not then we stop blaming the players. If Montella can't get goals out of Bacca (one of the most natural goal scorers playing today) then I worry for our new 38m super star.
on the 5th July, 2017 at 2:29am
@Maldini's Heir Consistency can work wonders for certain teams/players but we needed a PROPER revamp this summer. Not one of the pointless resets which was lead by Galliani.

@Davide So when Bona gets injured what then? Like this season as soon as he was injured we were no where. Hakan has played in the UCL and performed, I love Bona but he has played the majority of his career in midtable Serie A.
on the 4th July, 2017 at 2:24pm
They went from 3rd to 1st to 10th (tenth) to 1st in the space of 4 years with basically the same team. What changed? Confidence, consistency and cohesion. I've given up on Bacca but we now have a 38m Euro 21 year old who better not become another victim of the great underperforming machine.
on the 4th July, 2017 at 6:09am
@ Dami Nobody could accuse me of getting carried away! Look I how in wrong. I don't buy into this idea of "world class" and "average". Sure there's a few stand out players but anyone playing in the top leagues is a top top player. The difference comes down to inches not miles. Consistency, confidence and cohesion make all the difference. That is the difference between Chelsea suddenly performing better under Mourinho then poorly then suddenly turning it around for Conte.
on the 4th July, 2017 at 6:07am
How is he in any way an upgrade on players Milan already have? When healthy Bonaventura is a great fit in that position. They seem to be cementing themselves in the mid-table, none of the signings they've made so far are an upgrade, just more of the same good but not great players.
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 3:48pm
to Silva. Look at the consistency Chelsea has had in recent years regarding managers and players and then look at their trophy cabinet. Same goes for many teams. We have so far made 6 signings which are upgrades and 1 which is a decent squad player. This is our greatest mercato in years and yet your still complaining. (2/2)
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 2:51pm
@Maldini's Heir Every single time I see one of your posts all you go on about is 'consistency', I swear if you were our manager Bacca would be the main man and you would pass up the chance to sign a better player due to the fact he is 'too similar' to what we already have. Fact is Borini can play a variety of positions and will be happy to bench warm in a world cup year whereas Lapa won't be. Calhanoglu is an upgrade on any technical player we have, Kalinic would offer a more direct option (1/2)
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 2:50pm
than Montella should've been able to finish above Atalanta with the squad he had last season. I can see this year being like Abramovich''s first season at Chelsea. Lots of new signings but the wrong manager. Next season we'll probably hire a top manager and suddenly the "under-perfomers" will start to perform. I hope I'm wrong because I actually like Montella and Milan.
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 8:52am
reason that he's been loaned out so many times now that he'll never get consistency. Bacca lost the support of the ever grateful San Siro crowd and for the 4th time in 5 years we'll have sold our leading goalscorer from the previous season. It will be another "re-set". Admittedly this is a better "re-set" than previous "re-sets" but I question a manager who shows such little faith and gratitude to a squad that basically kept him in a job last season. If Conte can win the title with Victor Moses
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 8:49am
@ Marco I agree with your concerns about depth and also the unnecessary changes we're making to the squad. Borini and Kalinic are just unnecessary when we have Niang, Bacca and Lapadula. Montella seems to have a short memory but we actually were far better in the first half of last season with Bacca and Niang starting. By January both had been frozen out. How does a player go from starring in a win over Juve to being loaned out with an option to buy? I've all but given up on Niang for the simple
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 8:45am
I do question how milan is going to lineup in the coming season with hakan signing it would seem the 433 approach has been abandoned. It would be a problem for bonnaventura the guy is versatile can play cm lm and lw with ease however suso if he is staying is going to find it difficult to integrate in a starting 11. He really is the cherry on the cake for what has been a really good hectic transfer window for milan which finally seem to be slowing down.
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 7:37am
Finally, I would love to see Suso play in behind 2 strikers as a trequartista, but I don’t think Montella will switch up a system he has developed all last season. However it could be a nice alternative to play through the middle when we start to get stale towards the end of a game.
Poli has moved on to Bologna, we still need to clear out a LOT of other players before the season starts. I want to see Perin come in too, to put an end to the Donna saga for good.
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 2:48am
(2/2) the same job on lower wages (I know the Borini deal is a loan in year 1 but still seems a little wasteful for essentially a utility benchwarmer).
I imagine we will tuck Bona into CLM with Calhanaglu forming the wider left option of the front trident, then have Loca anchoring and Kessie on the RCM with Suso wide right, and Silva up top by himself. We might still need Niang/Bacca for depth, unless we can sell for decent money - any word on these guys?
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 2:45am
(1/2) Whilst the signings and ambition shown so far have been great, my biggest concern is how will Montella fit these signings in to his 4-3-3 style that he steadfastly stood by all of last season? Can Andre Silva lead the line up front by himself or does he need another striker to play with?
Without Biglia or similar we are still short a midfield player in the "Pirlo" role that we were so desperately craving last season.
I also question the signing of Borini when we have Lapadula who can do
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 2:44am
Milan started well with their signings then it is now getting a bit confusing. I was disappointed with Calhanoglu at Bayer because at Hamburg he was excellent. I do think he will frustrate Milan fans but the most bizarre signing so far is Borini. I am just at a total loss as to why he was bought. His last good season was at Roma many moons ago. If they do go for Kalinic then this signing will be even more befuddling. To think some1 like that has played for Liverpool, Roma, Chelsea & now AC
on the 3rd July, 2017 at 12:34am
@ anonymous it's not about strength and depth when bona will presumably be starting alongside him. Either that or we'll be replacing one of our main performers from the last few seasons and potential captain. It's just not a priority. If we sign Biglia then that will mean we have no captain since Abate, Monty and Bona will have all been pushed out or undermined. Whose our captain? Some new signing?
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 11:45pm
Nothing wrong with having players with overlapping attributes, it adds depth and competition, and don't forget, Bona is not a world beater, and not a FK specialist. Players have injuries and dips of form, and that's where big teams need depth to compete, just compare 1st & 2nd halves of last season. What I think is more concerning is how much of an upgrade are those new signings looking at the figures being spent? Will the new owners blow the budget in 1 window and hope for the best?
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 10:48pm
And one other thing. While I have no issue with De Sciglio leaving (because we managed to break another player), under no circumstances should we be selling him to our rivals. Why are we strengthening our rivals? He needs to be sent abroad. When he recovers from his Milan-itis (a condition which effects many players who seemingly under-perform while at Milan) and gets his Juve-boost we'll be constantly reminded about how we managed to screw up another player. Does this need to keep happening?
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:33pm
That's why I would've liked to see Milan go for someone like Martial. He says he's not leaving Man Utd but a big enough big would've convinced Man Utd to sell him. Kalinic will be another problem signing because he's too similar to Silva (the latter much better). If we sign a DM we cancel out Monty or Locatelli. Our earlier signings all addressed key weaknesses in defence and midfield but I fear that we've done very little to address the lack of variety and directness in attack.
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:24pm
The reason Milan did not qualify for the Champions League in the last few season is because we couldn't beat Carpi, Frosinone, Verona and the like. We competed with the top teams and dropped points to the lower teams. These teams put men behind the ball and we struggle to break them down. Having two little technical players dinking around the place won't open these teams up. Sure Calhanoglu might now score free kicks but that was Bonaventura's job.What we desperately need was physically and pace
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:21pm
who compliment those weaknesses. With Bonaventura and Calhanoglu we have two technical players who like to drift. Neither are particularly direct and both lack pace and physicality. The latter is probably a better player which means in the long term the former will be pushed out. But what a wholly unnecessary problem when replacing Bonaventura was not a priority. This is happened numerous times at Milan where we have lots of similar players who cancel each other out meaning none of them perform.
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:18pm
I don't want to sound negative but I think this is a terrible signing. The problem is not the player's quality. He seems like a top player. It's the fact that he's too similar to Bonaventura. Bonaventura is one of our key players and we've just cancelled him out. This is a familiar problem at Milan. It's not the individual players, it's the fact that we have too many similar players who don't compliment each other. Every player has strengths and weaknesses and the idea is to have other players
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:14pm
For a player touted as a free-kick specialist, his goal and assist stats are low. However, if he can live up to the hype he'll be very useful, like Pirlo was or Totti
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 9:13pm
Going by some of the most comical attempts by people I've heard on social media today, I would just like to help all with the pronunciation of his name. Calhanoglu is pronounced - the c is pronounced like ch in chelsea. and the g is a silent g and the lu is pronounced like loo. so its chalhanoloo!
on the 2nd July, 2017 at 8:27pm

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