Sunday December 3 2017
Milan need Andre Silva

Andre Silva can’t get a start despite Nikola Kalinic’s struggles, proving the Portugal star has been misused at Milan, writes Matthew Santangelo.

Another new Milan era begins today with Gennaro Gattuso replacing Vincenzo Montella. Big decisions must be made and one of them is giving Andre Silva more of a role in Serie A.

There’s no doubt Milan haven’t had the start they had hoped for in the 2017-18 campaign after splurging north of €200m on nearly a dozen new names this past summer. Currently, the Rossoneri find themselves in seventh place on 20 points, trailing Roma by 14 for the fourth and final Champions League spot they sought to obtain under new ownership.

Early on, the shaky defensive displays by Leonardo Bonucci and the restructured backline collectively garnered most of the scrutiny, but for the most part, these issues seem to have been sorting themselves out.

Aside from Montella’s failure to get the most from his squad before being given the sack, the attention and criticism for the team’s struggles has shifted heavily onto the palpable lack of production up front.

Croatian Nikola Kalinic moved over from Fiorentina after names like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andrea Belotti proved beyond reach, but has failed to deliver anything worthy of applause, contributing three goals in 12 league matches and looking wasteful regularly as the starter.

To date, Milan have scored just 19 goals in total, a sum not fit for a side with lofty ambitions of Europe. After last Sunday’s scoreless draw with Torino at San Siro, Milan have not found the net in four straight home games, only the third time in their history with such a negative streak.

New boss Gattuso would be wise to make a switch and play someone who can provide a spark up front in the form of not only goals, but also on-the-ball skills like Andre Silva.

The Portuguese international played a pivotal role throughout 2018 World Cup qualifying and has already tallied 11 goals in 18 senior appearances. His fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo gave the former Porto starlet his blessing ahead of his big €35m move to Italy last summer, citing the Milanese giants’ rich history and success as a tremendous platform for him to take on.

After agent Jorge Mendes and Milan’s front office wrapped up the deal quickly, it was understood that Silva would play a large role in what the red and black set out to accomplish this year in the league, but that certainly hasn’t been the case.

Silva’s been limited to 457 minutes over eight Serie A appearances, most of which have come from the bench later in matches and without the luxury of time to settle in and make an impact. However, in the games he has featured in, the gifted forward has proven to be quite the talent, albeit still raw in certain aspects of his game.

Unlike Kalinic, who is heavily reliant on service from the midfield and wide areas, Silva can make things happen through his array of qualities – physically, technically and mentally. His workhorse mentality, constant movement to get involved and technique on the ball loom large in the build-up phase when ideas are few and far between.

Look no further than his 45 minutes off the bench versus Napoli a few weeks ago, where he instantly provided a spark in the attacking department after Suso left with an injury. Space opened up for Milan to attack in a more respectable manner and that’s what is required if they are to turn their season around.

Andre Silva is still looking for his first Serie A goal, but notched up eight in just nine Europa League games, including the preliminary rounds. Why he is on the bench with Patrick Cutrone while Kalinic starts is something of a mystery.

Unsurprisingly, the San Siro crowd saw off Kalinic last weekend to an onslaught of jeers. The Croat’s been given more than enough time to win over the Milan faithful, but has left much to be desired. Change up front is needed, and Silva’s all-around ability can no longer be under-used as it was under Montella’s watch.

For whatever reason, the skilled striker was praised often by the recently sacked boss, yet wasn’t shown that confidence through the team-sheet. This is where Gattuso must call on the promising Portuguese attacker to put a halt to this slump, and let his talent shine through so that he may finally begin making good on the transfer fee indicative of a world class signing.

Have your say...
"Beppe Rossi bahahahhaha yeah right... History says so, Nottingham forrest, Brown nosed juve fan
on the 9th December, 2017 at 10:54am
Milan's money Laundering owners have done a great job damaging the club. Enjoy your big fine next spring when Fifa lays the hammer down. Shameful ownership and management who have stained the Ac Milan name. Nobody is going to save you know Milanisti, you're heading in the same direction Nottingham Forest did.
on the 7th December, 2017 at 9:24pm
He is less than average as is the virtually every player we brought in. This is team is worse than the team we had with no money.
Gattuso' aggression is exactly what this bunch it half wits need.
on the 5th December, 2017 at 11:04pm
@anonymous...which is more than we can say about your Juve, Inter or Napoli for that matter...if you appreciate Italian football then you will be a pains to discount the contribution of Milan to the Italian course in Europe and the world at large...I can appreciate you going as far as gloating at our current struggles, but words such as 'Losers' and following 'other Big teams' are strong inferences and plain down insulting...
on the 5th December, 2017 at 8:33am have just confirmed what a great club Milan is...spending energies following articles and comments on so-called 'losers' when you should be catching up on Torino or whoever it is you support...spare us the snotty remarks and leave the narrative for Milanistis to vent our frustrations.
It is an insult to refer to Milan as 'losers'...a team that has solely put Italian football on the world stage for decades and attracted some of the finest players football has to offer...
on the 5th December, 2017 at 8:12am
@ dami But why did we concede in the last minute? Was it luck? Or was it the fact that Milan completely lost control of the game? Bonucci got caught further up the pitch when Romagnoli got sent off. Kessie kept trying to run the length of the pitch rather than keeping the ball thus wasting valuable energy and putting himself out of position. Biglia also got caught out. And then we just kept hoofing it. AGAINST BENEVENTO. All of this was because Gattuso simply is not qualified to be a Milan coach
on the 5th December, 2017 at 12:17am
Get them out, all of them! Play with Calabria, Locatelli, Cutrone, Antonelli, Mauri and André Silva! Enough is enough! And force them to train 2 hours every day, springing!!!
on the 4th December, 2017 at 3:09pm
What can I say. Conceding a 95th minute equaliser from the oppositions goalkeeper to give a team their first point after 14 straight defeats, is there anything more Milan? This has been going on for the best part of 6 years now and it doesn't look like its getting any better. Hopefully this nightmare ends soon but for now we are a top 8 club at best.
on the 4th December, 2017 at 1:52pm
@ Anonymous obviously you wanted to read it otherwise you wouldn't have bothered writing in it surely. It might be better for you to get your trolling elsewhere.
on the 4th December, 2017 at 9:40am

Just because you just turned 16 and still chasing pokemon's doesnt meant your parents should have taught you a thing or two about respect. Milan is a club with great history and have always fought back. Remember this happened to Juve too.
Milan spent third most in Europe and have a huge fan base. It's prefectly normal that the writers write around a historical club no matter how bad they do currently. Guessing your a city fan in PL too right?
on the 4th December, 2017 at 9:24am
why are we talking about losers. can we have posts about the top teams please. the readers don't want to read about mediocre teams hanging around mid table
on the 4th December, 2017 at 12:25am
against Benevento after he’d missed a simple 1 on 1) and Silva, Silva is considered too risky. But then the club throw Gattuso right into the deepest darkest end in the hope that somehow, a ‘manager’ with no Serie A experience and a string of failed projects behind him in Serie B and the Greek and Swiss leagues, will be the manager Milan need to make up 12 points on Lazio and Roma. This is beyond a farce. The directors either need to appoint a proper manager or they need to resign.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 11:46pm
play. It needs a manager to actually train them and put together some tactics. Shouting is not tactics. Tactics is knowing where and when to go. The Milan players didn’t have a clue and haven’t for about 5 years. It’s a little ironic that players like Calabria, Locatelli, Cutrone and Silva are overlooked for their inexperience but inexperience doesn’t seem to be a barrier to the most important position at the club - the manager. Faced with a choice between Kalinic (who BTW scored an open goal
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 11:45pm
17 to Milan's 12. 6 were on target to Milan’s 7 so I suppose that’s something. The fact is Milan played at the same level as Benevento. Let that sink in. Are the Milan players the same level as the Benevento players? Do Milan need ‘world class’ players to beat Benevento. What could possibly be the issue? Is it, perhaps, that Gattuso is not actually qualified to coach in Serie A let alone a team with such lofty expectations as Milan? Apparently a group of random players cannot just turn up and
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 11:44pm
Firstly congratulations Benevento. They got what they deserved. And they really did deserve it. The goal might have come in the last minute from an unusual source but they were in the game until the end. Normally when a 'big' team drops points to a smaller team it's because they've defended for their lives and got a goal on the break. That's not what happened in this game. This was a balanced game. Milan certainly didn't dominate. They only had 53% of the possession. Benevento had more shots.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 11:27pm
What Milan need is a coach like Prandelli. Gattuso is not a good coach. He is too aggressive. Prandelli strikes me as a more of a patient man which is what the Milan players need.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 8:21pm
The Milan managerial position has become an almost untenable position at this point. It's a huge risk for a manager reputation.
That said, only the best can fix Milan now. Proven winners who can bring a philosophy to the club with them.
Conte, Ancelotti, Sarri, Guardiola, Spaletti, etc... Coaches of the highest class.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 6:09pm
Milan is a directionless club. Mirabelli and Montella were given 250m and full control of the Milan sporting project by Mr. "Shadow Owner" Yonghong Li. The results are horrifying.
There is no personality or philosophy leading this club!
Maldini frozen out, legends thrown into the hot seat as PR "yes men"...
Milan's mentality has become completely mid-table. The club has structural problems.
Throwing millions around and causing a media stir has only raised the stakes and made everything worse
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 6:03pm
I can tell you what they dont need. Kalinic, biglia, bonucci and kessie. The best of this pathetic bunch is probably cutrone and romagnoli. Milan is an overpriced genoa. The management that dont know a thing about football isnt helping either. Oh well the season is over in three months.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 3:04pm
Watching a keeper score for benevento to get their first point is fantastic. Watching Flopnucci fail every week is priceless hahahahah!!!!!
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 2:57pm
Kalinic signing was questionable honestly i think most milan fans would have preferred a word class centre forward or a decent left sided winger or attacker. I never got why you would spend 40 million euros on silva to keep him on the bench. This is my problem with milan instead of looking at flexible interchangeable players to get goals they sign a pure centre forward.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 1:31pm
Maybe silva could have finished a couple more opportunities than kalinic but for me it is questionable what substantial difference it would really make. The lack of creativity it the major issue suso and bonna barely see any of the ball in advanced positions which is key considering montolivo could be the most creative player in the milan midfield. i was all for this back 3 plus conti and rr but it is simply hindering any creativity in the attacking phases milan need to consider a change.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 1:28pm
Also I feel Milans biggest defeat is not regularly starting Locatelli, especially when you see the players in his position at the club ( apart from Kessie)
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 12:20pm
I like Silva but he is far from the finished product, we only see him on match days managers and coaching staff are with him everyday, from what I've seen he has good potential to become a great player but doesn't seem much of a team player, Milan badly need points Gattuso is just playing it safe at the moment
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 12:09pm
Cannot for the kife.of me understand wjy he doesn't seem to be picked for Benevento - Serie A's weakest team.

The biy has score like a maniac in Europa and for Petugal, against weaker opoosition than Napoki, Inter or Lazio, but against Benevento his debut Serie A goal seemed a sure thing.

Kalinic whistled off after missing horribly at home with Toeino and a new coach comes in. Still, Kalinic gets the nod. A lost opportunity for Ringhio as well, that.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 10:32am
They should never have sold Bacca. Last week Kalinic missed two great chances. Bacca would have buried both.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 9:13am
Reports say Gattuso will start Kalinic... if true, just goes to show the stubborness of Italian coaches. they'll bench a young player because he is weak in one particular area, prefering a more expeienced player with more game experience and more rounded qualities. It's an obsession with tactics over philosophy.

Italian tacticians are world class; the best in the world, but Italian football needs to institute a philosophy as well.
on the 3rd December, 2017 at 7:23am

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