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Thursday July 18 2019
Milan should be excited by Empoli pair

Milan fans might not be bowled over by the idea of Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer, but Sam Wilson assures they’re under-rated bargains.

\On face value, Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer from relegated Empoli are not the most glamorous signings, especially when compared with the likes of Juventus who picked up Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey on free transfers for their midfield, as well as Dutch starlet Matthijs de Ligt in defence. However, these are not only underrated bargains, but also indicative of a new era at the club.

Starting with Bennacer, who the club are preparing to sign for a fee of around €18m, Giampaolo is being presented with a gift for his tactical plans at the club. We know that the former Sampdoria boss likes to employ a 4-3-1-2 formation, with a three-man midfield consisting of a regista who sits slightly deeper than his two partners, who are closer to filling the roles of a mezz’ala, striding forward into the wide spaces which wingers would occupy in other formations.

Bennacer holds all the relevant attributes to be a successful regista for Giampaolo. In fact, the Algerian international is highly reminiscent of former Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira, who Milan’s new Coach worked closely with at Marassi and helped the Uruguayan achieve a huge move to the Premier League to join Arsenal.

In his last season with Sampdoria, Torreira demonstrated many similar statistics to those of Bennacer. The two have a similar ability when it comes to passing, as well as sharing a near-identical percentage of defensive duels won per 90 minutes, and contributed greatly to the transitional phase too, a classic responsibility of a regista. He reportedly turned down bigger offers and better personal terms elsewhere, quite a coup considering his key role in helping Algeria reach the Africa Cup of Nations Final.

Therefore, not only is Bennacer a talented young player who can add a lot to the Rossoneri midfield, but he is also a smart signing – showing an improvement in the scouting at the club, who just a few years ago were spending large amounts of money on individual talents without much consideration as to how they would fit in their manager’s tactical system. This suggests that now Milan are focusing more on the long-term, with Giampaolo being the man chosen to take the club into a new era.

Krunic, meanwhile, may not immediately break into the first team, but will be a valuable rotational option to play in either the LCM or RCM position, although it’s more likely to be on the left side, as he is more familiar with that position. Krunic is a talented dribbler of the ball and has strong passing statistics too, but will provide Giampaolo with an important player to rely on in case of injuries or fatigue.

Milan lost momentum towards the end of last season, as players grew tired and the club faced a string of injuries and fitness issues that can, in part, be blamed for their failure to qualify for the Champions League. However, the club are clearly attempting to resolve this, by providing their new Coach with more depth to the side, allowing him to rotate players and trial his ideas in the first half of the season, without a detrimental effect on the run-in at the tail end of the campaign.

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Have your say...
Buying Bennacer could turn out to be great.

Even better would be to not have loaned Locatelli, or to have installed a buy-back clause.

So why not get him?

Hernandez is not as good as Rodriguez, even if Rodriguez has just not hit full stride. But he's terrific. Maying Hernandez will light a fire and in two years he can leave and Hernandez steps in.

You want younger talented players to push even slightly older ones?

Then why are you giving on Castillejo?

I'm open, but also worried.
on the 22nd July, 2019 at 6:52pm
I think following the theme of some I am going to write my dreams down for potential lineups-
GK- Donna
LB- buy world class
RB- Calabria
CB- Romangnoli
CB- buy world class
LM- buy world class
CM- buy world class
RM- buy world class
RW- buy world class
LW- buy world class
S- Cutrone
I think this is realistic.
on the 22nd July, 2019 at 10:43am
Forgot Matteo Darmian who plays for Man U...
on the 20th July, 2019 at 3:34pm
Taking into consideration all the money spent over the last 10 years, in particular that summer of Yonghong Li (200M):

In 4-3-3

Gigio
World Class LB, Romagnoli(30M), Astori(free until 2018), Calabria(free)
Cristante (free), Locatelli(free), World Class CM
World Class LW, Aubameyang, Verdi(free)

In 4-3-1-2

Gigio
World Class LB, Romagnoli(30M), Astori(free until 2018), Calabria(free)
Cristante (free), Locatelli(free), World Class CM
World Class Trequartista
World Class FW, Aubameyang
on the 20th July, 2019 at 3:32pm
Mirko, totally agree with the waste of academy talent. This has been going on for ever. Locatelli, Cristante, Astori (RIP), Aubameyang, Verdi, Petagna, and a few more. Not all are superstars, but some have been capped. All would have been starters at the moment if compared to what we have. It just boggles my mind because they would all have cost 0. If you put the above together with some targeted big money signings from money saved from all the BS transfers...
on the 20th July, 2019 at 3:23pm
Conte upset, Players already injured and Marotta taking long to get moves going. Hmmmmmmm hahahahahahaha hahahahahhahahahah!!!
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:43pm
Even though inter has to be overly insane and stupid to buy lukaku for 80 plus mil, at least we have heard of these players before hahahahha come on inter hahahaha please buy lukaku and dzeko. They are exceptional players. Whats this? Is that wanda's headlights i see in the distance hahahahahahah hahahhaha!!! Come on losers get those deals done let me ober laugh some more.
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:38pm
Welcome milans new star signings, Nobody # 1 Nobody #2 and Nobody #3. Hahahhahahahahhahah hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:26pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA Truth be told Abate has been fairly consistent since he retired, I see your sarcasm, however I also see you lack of knowledge when it comes to Milan players so who cares.
on the 19th July, 2019 at 2:36pm
My expectations are very low as well. Few comments:

-I think we should keep the forward line as is. We are playing 1 competition and if one of the strikers is having a dry spell the others can step up.

-We absolutely need another midfielder and defender. I would send Hakan, Borini, Laxalt, and Biglia out to drop the wage bill and raise some funds.

-It is crazy to think that we should sell suso without replacing him with a world class creative player. He by far is our most creative player
on the 19th July, 2019 at 1:08pm
I've read a few articles on Milan and how Suso may be used in the no.10 position but everybody seems to have forgotten Paqueta who has all the attributes to be a top class no.10 and looked very promising in his first 6 months in serie A. Given it usually takes time for foreign players to settle I can only imagine he'll be even better this season.

4,3,1,2

Donna

Calabria, Romangoli, (New CB), Hernandez

Kessie, Bennacer, Paqueta

Suso

Piatek Cutrone/Silva

Not an awful team to be fair
on the 19th July, 2019 at 11:19am
100% agree I would be all over Fekir/Ziyech. I'd even take Toby Alderweireld to partner Romagnoli at the back. Think Bennacer and Krunic are better that Bertolacci/Montolivio/Biglia but still not amazing - time will tell though
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:58am
We have 4 strikers currently, Piatek Cutrone Silva and Borini - so he cant fit in up top. And we have Krunic, Paqueta, Suso, Hakan and Jack who can all play the n10 position behind 2 of the strikers - so that position is well covered as well.
If we were to make a sacrifice I would sadly say he should be the one to go as he doesn't add too much if the 4-3-1-2 is deployed.
Let's hope we can land the CB from Leipzig and another midfielder then focus on selling and I'll be content with our market.
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:46am
considered selling Donna to raise funds - what message does that send to our talented youth prospects coming up? Whats the point of having good young Milan raised players if they don't have a long term future. These young guys should be the ones we build the team around, coupled with outstanding players in other positions, to give the team and Milanese core for many years.
I'm also concerned where Castu will fit in this year if we aren't using out and out wingers.
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:41am
@AC Milan Fan
We rarely got to see them play together last year, but I don't see why they couldn't play together. Cutrone may just have to slightly adjust his play and be the menace to open space for Piatek to finish. But Cutrone works so hard and drops deep to create spaces. I'm just sad to see we are considering selling another good academy player, we let go of Loca and were left with Montolivo and Biglia in that position, neither of whom played much at all last year. Add to that we previously
on the 19th July, 2019 at 9:36am
If, as is being reported, we sell Cutrone and Silva to go for Correa it'll be an absolute joke, especially if we have to pay €55m. Fekir is available for around half the price and is a better player.
on the 19th July, 2019 at 2:33am
It is hard to see who milan could attract in their current situation if we were talking sensible contracts tonali and sensi made the most sense. Milan biggest issue last season was a complete lack of pace creativity technical ability and passing range in the midfield yes baka made the team more solid but really the issue in the fist place was milan to be progressive with possession. It is about building a team that works rather than a dozen individuals.
on the 18th July, 2019 at 9:39pm
Mirko, agreed on the Baka midfield type. I guess players his size and with those qualities are hard to find (expensive). Not sure that Paitek and Cutrone can play together as neither is a support striker, while Silva I think can play more in that role. I think Cutrone still has a role to play and Silva's return doesn't have to mean he leaves. We'll still need options off the bench and in case one of Silva and Piatek go down. I think in the end it will be up to him.
on the 18th July, 2019 at 7:03pm
Milan Fans should be happy, at least they didn't bring back Bertolacci, Abate, Constant, Fernando Torres, Paletta, Albertazzi, Essien and Birsa so smile would ya, Milan is now a provincial team :)
on the 18th July, 2019 at 6:23pm
Lets see what Bennacer and Krunic will add. I have my expectations set extremely low as we hired a 10th place finishing coach and 2 relegation players. But I am in favor of the formation change and the style change. If we can focus on adding a robust defence to the attacking style we might surprise this season.
Strikers should be:
Starting - Piatek and Cutrone
Bench - Silva and Castu
Sell: Borini and get his wages off the bill.

Now is the time to thin the squad as we are only in 1 competition.
on the 18th July, 2019 at 2:12pm
I am also happy with our transfer campaign, however I would have liked to see an adequate replacement for Baka - mainly for his physical presence. We need a big tall and strong midfield destroyer who is also fast. A tall midfielder would also be good on defending set pieces. I'll be happy with one more CB.
More concerning is the talk that it will be A. Silva partnering Piatek. We shouldnt push yet another academy player out, Cutrone is awesome and has more than proved his worth.
on the 18th July, 2019 at 2:05pm
I'm happy with the transfer campaign so far given our financial constraints, but I look at Juve and I tremble. Not that I expected us to compete for the title, but I thought Serie A was going to be more competitive next season. I thought there was a good chance for a 3 way Juve-Inter-Napoli race. I think Juve will run away with it again. Specially if Inter don't get Lukaku and if Napoli don't make a significant signing of their own (ADL strikes again). Oh well.
on the 18th July, 2019 at 1:36pm

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