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Friday June 21 2019
Giampaolo's very modern Milan

Marco Giampaolo’s Milan are expected to follow the 4-3-1-2 pattern, as Sam Wilson predicts what fans will see from the new-look Rossoneri.

It is a transformational time for Milan with huge changes throughout the club, although new Coach Marco Giampaolo might find himself repurposing existing players for the most part. The former Sampdoria boss steps in for Gennaro Gattuso, while Paolo Maldini, Zvonimir Boban and Ricky Massara take control of the directorial roles.

The Rossoneri haven’t qualified for the Champions League since 2013 and find themselves up against profoundly reinforced opponents. Antonio Conte has come to Inter, Maurizio Sarri to Juventus and exciting Paulo Fonseca at Roma, while Carlo Ancelotti and even Gian Piero Gasperini are getting into their strides for Napoli and Atalanta.

There is a common denominator and that is the focus on attacking, possession-based football. Milan joined the trend by appointing Giampaolo from Sampdoria. In a way, this was also a return to the past, as ex-President Silvio Berlusconi gleefully pointed out he’d always wanted two upfront and a trequartista.

Giampaolo’s trademark formation at Samp and before that Empoli was his 4-3-1-2, a system that really allowed the modest sides to flourish. His attractive brand of football allowed veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella to eclipse even the likes of Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the Capocannoniere title at the age of 36.

Giampaolo’s tactics with Sampdoria mainly revolved around the middle of the pitch being a core part of the team’s success. With Quagliarella and another forward leading the line, typically Gregoire Defrel, it is likely that Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek will fill the Quagliarella role whilst Patrick Cutrone will occupy the other half of the front two.

Both Piatek and Cutrone will suit the Giampaolo style of attack, pressing the opposition back line and forcing the defenders into giving up possession.

Arguably the most important part of Giampaolo’s set-up in Milan will be the central attacking midfielder role, known in Italy as the trequartista. It was occupied by Gaston Ramirez or Riccardo Saponara for Sampdoria. Milan have several players who can fill this role and it will be down to Hakan Calhanoglu, Samu Castillejo, Lucas Paqueta and Suso to try and impress the new Coach in training to earn their place in the starting XI.

Considering their various characteristics, it seems as if Paqueta is the first choice for that spot in the hole behind the two strikers. He already attempted it a couple of times under Gattuso, while bringing Suso to a more central role also has potential, even if it’d rob Milan of his undoubted crossing abilities from the right.

It’s true that options are limited on the transfer market due to their Financial Fair Play situation, but snapping up Rade Krunic from Empoli for under €10m is an absolute steal. The Bosnia international midfielder contributed five goals and six assists in 33 Serie A games this season, but was sorely missed in the final round against Inter due to injury.

Milan’s wide array of attacking options will give Giampaolo a fluid and flexible approach to the squad. Additionally, if the Rossoneri sign another strong forward, Giampaolo will be spoilt for choice and the rotation options available could give the club the extra stamina they need coming into the final stretch of games next season. After all, that was the pivotal point where things fell apart for Gattuso.

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Have your say...
And a set of core players you see give their everything. We lost so much when we lost our last senator, Ambrosini. Every year we chop. Nobodys safe. I struggle every year with if or who i buy a kit of. 2 years ago, when we lost 3-2 to inter i believe it was. Locatelli stepped up and gave a performance like a senator would, to drive the team forward, we still lost but i saw it in him, finally a player i can attach myself to and love.. Then we sold him. I hate the window too.
on the 26th June, 2019 at 2:34pm
@ Maldini's Heir id argue its been even longer, even last couple years for Ancelotti our windows were poor considering the aging squad.

However i totally agree with the statement, the last 10 years, the last glimmer of consistency was under allegri, but it was a team full of dirty players, NDe Jong, van Bommel, Muntari, Boateng who was difficult to support, atleast for me. To never having any consistency ever again. Its hard to to not even have a set of players you actually care about
on the 26th June, 2019 at 2:19pm
@ Mario Milanista The past 10 years of supporting Milan have made me come to hate the transfer window. If it could shut tomorrow I’d actually be delighted. As a fan I’ve had to support literally hundreds of different players who have played for the club in this period and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the constant chopping and changing. Honestly if certain players are sold this summer like Donnarumma, Romagnoli or Cutrone I might just bail out all together.
on the 26th June, 2019 at 5:13am
The very day Gazidiz was brought to Milan is the day we forfeited winning any single trophy, he wasn't brought to Milan to build a solid squad he was brought to Milan to stabilize their finances. He doesn't care about winning trophy he is all about money, his track record at Arsenal speaks for it's self !!!

So don't keep your hopes up dear Milanisti :))
on the 25th June, 2019 at 7:28pm
Personally i think its a bit drastic, but it is what it looks like. To me atleast.

And how anyone can say a positive word about Hakan is beyond me, this has to be shut down. Hakan in CAM? get away and never come back. He does not have the mental, technical or the physical attributes to play advanced and move ball correctly and fast enough. He can do big switches, from deep midfield. He cant play advanced.
on the 25th June, 2019 at 6:06am
To me this looks like almost all players have been deemed losers. Like if the players are our DNA, then our DNA does not consist of winners. We look like we are signing an entire new squad atm, everyone is going. This Kabak is apparently coming to play as a starter, so who does that leave out. Every other player is linked away and we are linked to every single player contemplating a move. I do not agree but for the first time it looks as if the club is actually resetting itself. Disaster ahead
on the 25th June, 2019 at 6:03am
@ AnonMilan I don't think we're that far apart and I don't think me moaning is going to change anything. I'm just really venting my frustration at what will be yet another summer of "transition". I just hope next season we can all avoid jumping on board the "transition" train as it's starting to becoming just a little bit repetitive!
on the 25th June, 2019 at 1:24am
Bringing in a solid coach is obviously needed, we agree on that. But then you have to properly support their style and ideas, and let them mold the team in order to have an actual lasting impact.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 2:53pm
We've had injury issues going back years. Remember Pato when Allegri was around? We're turning on Suso because his performances week in week out do not command the 6m wage he thinks he deserves. He's too predictable and too frequently disappears when we need someone to grab hold of a match. My biggest issue with the 4-3-3 is how often our striker was left isolated last year; they need help getting the ball where they can score and shouldn't have to keep dropping back to midfield to pick it up.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 2:52pm
PS If Giampaolo cannot play any other formation other than 4312 then that sort of brings to question his competence. His job is to get the best out of the players. Therefore he needs to play the formation that does that. Not have some rigid system that the players need to fit into.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 9:45am
forget about everything. It doesn’t matter if we have two squads of Messi’s that interruption will destroy our chances. Getting injuries down is a bare minimum requirement for any new manager. I do also love how everyone has turned on Suso - our leading assist provider and third in a Serie A. Yes let’s get rid of him so we can sign someone who got less assists last season! The key thing is to look busy.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 9:39am
@ AnonMil What is unique about Milan that we have so many injury prone players (who again remarkably were not injury prone in their previous clubs). It’s almost as if being a top football coach in charge of too professionals is difficult and requires actual expertise. But I’m sure Gattuso who only ever managed lower division teams was more than capable. I expect, no, I demand, that a better quality manager will reduce the disgraceful number of injuries. If we have to deal with injuries forget
on the 24th June, 2019 at 9:35am
Let Suso go get his Six mill elsewhere, Keep Kessie and drill offensive moves. He's got ways to go but he has it in him. Piatek and Cutrone with Paqueta in the hole is exciting - how many times did we hit the wall cause the defence crowded our one striker out and pushed suso/borini to the byline, often for a rodriguez/abate-calabria cross on the overlap only to see the ball headed clear comfortably by the stopper who wasn't marking Piatek away from the action? Roma-Caldara are exciting too...
on the 24th June, 2019 at 5:35am
Mauri is leaving, it's all but final, but you keep including him in your hypotheticals. Biglia cannot play 35 games a year. Bona either, in all likelihood, with his history. Caldara? Conti? We have a roster full of injury history; how do you propose we go about getting them all to magically stay fit for an entire season? Milan will not successfully complete a season with only 20 players.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 2:23am
He won't play a 4-3-3. He has always played a 4-3-1-2 and all signs point to him keeping with it at Milan; you're screaming into a void. We need more impetus movie forward. Suso is inconsistent, predictable and lacks pace. Our right side isn't nearly as strong for a 4-3-3, in my opinion, aa you seem to believe it to be. With Andre Silva coming back, a front two makes sense. Paqueta/Hakan can play treq. Kessie or Torreira at the base with Bona/Samu/Suso/Borini/new signing on right and left.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 2:18am
CORRECTION: I forgot Paquetá in my starting 11! So we actually have 2 for every position even though we don't need 2 for every position! Bonaventura can become a utility player covering all 3 midfield positions and the 2 wing positions. With my squad you'd have a really tight core of players playing week in/week out and that is how you creating a winning side.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 12:28am
spots and Cutrone as cover for Piątek. That would leave Gabbia, Laxalt, Mauri and Borini who would hopefully never play. 11 of Barcelona's players played over 40 games last season. If they can do it than so can Milan. If Messi can play 687 games in 15 seasons (or 45 games per season) than Piątek can start every game for us next season. I actually support missing out on the Europa League so we can give the league and more importantly the squad some focus.
on the 24th June, 2019 at 12:17am
@ AnonMilan And my point is that the squad is not set up for 4312 so we shouldn't be playing it. As you've rightly pointed out we're also struggling for midfielders so why would we use a midfield heavy formation? We have wingers so we should use them. My team would be: Donna, Conti, Caldara, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Biglia, Kessie, Bonaventura, Suso, Piątek and Player X with Calabria covering for both FB, Musacchio covering for both CBs, Çalhanoğlu covering 3 MF spots, Castillejo covering both wing
on the 24th June, 2019 at 12:11am
@Maldini's Heir
It's pointless to continue talking about LW and 4-3-3. Giampaolo is all-in on 4-3-1-2 so the squad needs to be equipped for it. We're decently well covered for attacking MF roles but with Baka gone, Kessie listed for sale and Biglia's age/injury record, we need a solid regista type. If Mauri leaves, a solid rotational player would also be useful. Where will Suso fit in? Will Bona come back to his best after the long layoff? These are questions we'll have to wait to see answered.
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 8:52pm
This is hilarious. Clueless Milan fans here are arguing over what's best for Milan.
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 12:00pm
for no reason other than he was there last season so has been training with the squad for longer than any new player we're about to waste money on. Rather than wasting time trying to sign a back up midfielder, we could focus our efforts on signing a first choice, world beating, unbelievably amazing, game changer of a LW who would transform the team. It's about focus. It's about having absolute priorities with no distractions.
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 10:08am
@ AnonMilan No I specifically picked players who were on their way out. The main point being we don't need to let yet more go.

@ NewACM Exactly Juve went from 7th to 1st by signing an ageing Pirlo who was struggling at Milan and a few others Giaccherini, Vidal, Lichtsteiner and Vučinić but by far the biggest signing was the manager who took the existing core of players and turned them into world beaters.

@ PrimoCalcio There's 22 in my squad we also have Musacchio at CB. We should renew Mauri
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 10:06am
Milan’s problem is money. What they r doing is to sell key players 4 instant fund and find replacement on loan with option to buy. This causes a big problem, how do u know the replacement gonna work and how long to adapt to Serie A.
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 9:55am
The title should be Giampaolo's very mediocre Milan.
on the 23rd June, 2019 at 8:12am
Few things:
1st. Plizzari is far from ready... He didn't play a single match in Serie A so no one can know how good he can be there. He had good tourney in U20 but all good players from that category went to U21...
2nd. Mauri is leaving for free
3rd. 1st CB we got this summer is Kabak, never heard about him, dunno what to expect from him..
4th. I would keep Zapata since he was the best CB last season and also Baka cuz we r left just with Biglia, maybe Kessie can play DM but who knows...
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 10:27pm
As of today our squad looks like:
GK; Reina, Plizzarri, Donna(likely sold)
DF: Romagnoli, Musacchio, Caldara, Gabbia, Rodriguez, Calabria, Conti, Laxalt(uncertain), Strinic(uncertain)
MF: Biglia(uncertain), Kessie, Calhonglu, Bonaventura(uncertain), Paqueta, Suso(uncertain)
FW: Piatek, Cutrone(likely sold), Silva, Borini, Samu

That's only 23 players, a few of who will leave and a few with injury concerns.
Krunic so far is the only definite signing.
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 3:02pm
@MaldiniHeir
Caldara play 38 games?? He's coming off 2 major injuries. He played what, 5 times this season. If he plays 20 games next year it'll be a success.
The squad is not setup for 433. Infact the squad isn't setup for any formation atm. We just lost Sensi to Inter and seem to be selling Cutrone, so I really have no idea what we are doing other than that we will play 4312 next season regardless.
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 2:53pm
Mark my words :
GUARANTEED HE IS LET GO BY WEEK 16.

...OR AT BEST FINISH 6th PLACE ...IF BY MIRACLE STAYS ON ENTIRE SEASON...BUT CMON THATS NEARLY AN IMPOSSIBLE FEAT NOWADAYS IN SERIE A LET ALONE FOR THE AC MILAN CLUB.
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 1:05pm
@Maldini's Heir, your squad doesn't make sense at all. Caldara won't play 38 games, he won't be back from injury until at least October. Then the 4th centre-back you have, Gabbia only has Serie C experience.

We don't even know if we'll be playing EL yet but you want a CB group that light? Only two strikers. Biglia certainly can't play 50 games, and then who is left as regista? Mauri is leaving on a free so you only have 5 midfielders. Your squad is worse than last season's. Ridiculous.
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 10:38am
Andre Silva was very talented - what's wrong with the lad?
on the 22nd June, 2019 at 8:59am

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