Whether it's his late winner in the Coppa Italia semi-final against city rivals Inter in 2017 or his well-worked assist for strike partner Krzysztof Piatek against Udinese this term, there is no doubt that Patrick Cutrone has captured the hearts of the Milan fans.
The Como-born striker came through the Milan youth academy and since making his debut in May 2017 has risen steadily, making his Italy debut just a year later. He is yet to establish himself, but he has shown enough to justify being kept by the Rossoneri.
Cutrone is almost a throwback to the old-time poachers of years past; think the likes of Bayern Munich and Germany striker Gerd Mueller to the more recent Milan ‘fox in the box’ SuperPippo Inzaghi. The 21-year-old is blessed with the traditional Number 9 attributes, but above all with grit, a strong work ethic and boundless passion.
His movement where he manages to find space in even the most confined of spaces is his main weapon, but it would be foolhardy to believe his striking skills end there. He is physically strong despite not being a big man, his knowledge to position himself at the right place at the right time, having that knack to know where the ball will end up and his work rate when both attacking and defending are his other exemplary elements.
In short, he is a real nuisance for opposition defenders, as he always keeps them on their toes and they must watch him for the entire game. His technique is his biggest weakness, but that can improve with experience and under the management of Marco Giampaolo. The former Sampdoria Coach mainly uses the 4-3-1-2 formation and Cutrone can prove to be a vital cog in his attempt to make a Milan revival.
It goes without saying that Polish striker Piatek is the number one in the pecking order of strikers, further confirmed when he was handed the famed Number 9 shirt, having earned it after his stellar play last season. However, who partners him is a subject of much debate.
Reports continue to maintain Milan are in the process of selling both Andre Silva, who returned from a loan spell at Sevilla, and Cutrone to Monaco and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively. It could well be a mistake to let Cutrone leave so early into his career.
Cutrone has garnered 27 goals in 90 games. It is a rather impressive haul, considering how average the club have been in recent times. He has rarely been a regular starter, not to mention he does not take penalties or free-kicks, which would’ve considerably padded out his statistics.
However, Cutrone's value to Milan is not just about cold, hard numbers, as he brings many intangibles to the football field. His heart and never say die attitude, in addition to the passion he displays on the field when he wears the shirt, is something you won't see in the stat sheet and quite frankly, something you can't put a price on.
Despite not being in Europe next season, there will be enough games between the league and the Coppa Italia for all three strikers to make an important contribution to Milan, and that should include Cutrone.
Giampaolo said he loves "hard workers" and there are few, if any, at Milan right now who work as hard as Cutrone.