After lengthy negotiations, Milan have finally agreed a deal with Fiorentina for Nikola Kalinic. The reported numbers in the deal are €5m loan, with an obligation to buy at the end of the season for €20m, with the Rossoneri paying a total of €25m for the 29-year-old.
After the purchase of Andre Silva, it’s no secret Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone have been looking for a second striker, especially a big name or “top player” like Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Torino’s Andrea Belotti. However, because of the high demands from the opposing teams wanting €80m and over, the Rossoneri identified Fiorentina’s Kalinic as their top target, and it certainly helps that he’s a favourite of Coach Vincenzo Montella.
The Croatian’s will has always been to play at San Siro, as he agreed personal terms several weeks ago, with the two clubs just having to agree a fee. Now, Montella has his wish, and Kalinic should be a perfect fit for the ex-Fiorentina Coach’s system and tactical approach.
Kalinic has never been a ‘superstar’ in Serie A since joining the Viola two seasons ago, but he’s been a consistent goal scorer. In his first season, he bagged 13 goals and provided four assists in 28 games, then improved his stats in his second campaign, scoring 20 and adding four assists in 32 appearances.
In today’s transfer market, €20-25m for a player who has produced 15-20 goals every season is definitely not bad business.
Kalinic’s game is not all about goal-scoring, however. The Croatian has many elements to his game that are attractive, especially bearing in mind Montella’s style.
He is the direct replacement for Carlos Bacca, who left for Villarreal and obviously didn’t fit in with the Coach’s plans. Bacca is more of a ‘fox in the box’ type of striker, and his movement and team play weren’t up to par. Kalinic, however, is the opposite. His link-up play is what makes him even more effective, as he uses his size and technical ability to hold up the ball, find a team-mate or slow the game down to create an opportunity elsewhere. This is what the Rossoneri sorely lacked with Bacca.
Another crucial component with Kalinic is his ability to score in big games against the top teams in Serie A. Of his 15 goals league goals last season, five came against Juventus, Milan, Inter and Lazio. Several players love to score against minnows, but finding the net in derbies and intense matches shows the mentality of a strong player, and Milanisti should know that this bomber can perform against anyone.
There are many elements to Kalinic’s game that fit Montella’s style. Whether he switches from his favoured 4-3-3 formation is one of the question marks hanging over this season, but in any case, Kalinic will provide options for the Coach.
Kalinic is a perfect fit for Montella’s side, and Milan are continuing to add depth and quality to their line-up.