Friday July 26 2019
A fresh start for Milan

Marco Giampaolo’s new Milan revolves around the midfield, so Steven K Moore considers the revamped Rossoneri.

Despite securing their highest Serie A finish in six years, Milan were expecting more. Anything less than a top four finish would be considered a failure, so missing out to Atalanta felt even worse.

Gennaro Gattuso is gone and Marco Giampaolo has been drafted in to create a new-look Diavolo, one in the image of its Coach. Gone is the focus on determination, grit and grinding out results, in comes an eye for quality, style and practiced passing channels.

Known for his 4-3-1-2 formation, the 51-year-old likes a quick but efficient counter style of play. This stems from his team adapting to a diamond 4-4-2 formation whilst defending. There are always three players who remain high up the field by the half-way mark, but thanks to the three holding defensive midfielders that stay compressed, they can win the ball back and get players forward. This catches their opposition off-guard as they easily break through the lines by being in open space and having at least two options at all times.

In his time at Sampdoria, Giampaolo has seen the success of his work arrive as a result of establishing a hard-working and interconnected squad. Starting with a strong defensive core, he utilises vigorous midfielders - as capable of setting up an attack as defending their goal - to dominate the middle of the park, while deploying an attacking trio who can all work off each other and find the back of the net. This is why Giampaolo’s arrival at Milan is one to look forward to – he has the ideal foundations waiting for him.

Trimming the squad by removing several players deemed surplus for their future project, the club has acquired Theo Hernandez (21) for the left flank, Rade Krunic (25) to reinforce the middle of the park and recent Africa Cup of Nations winner (and best young player and overall player of the tournament) Ismael Bennacer (21).

Although an overhaul of the squad has had a detrimental impact on the club in the past, they are investing in experienced youth who have already proven their worth. It makes it even more justifiable to sign these three players when you consider why they are being acquired: it is for the departments that actually need to be reinforced to make Giampaolo’s tactics come to life. This is why Milanisti should be feeling even more positive about their team’s off-season endeavours to date.

In a best-case scenario, we will see Milan line up with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, Andrea Conti, Mateo Musacchio (or his replacement), Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez making up the back-line. The middle three comprises Franck Kessie, Bennacer and Lucas Paqueta, with Suso in a trequartista role; and finally, Correa and Krzysztof Piatek as the two strikers.

Looking to the bench, they’ll have Mattia Caldara as depth for the centre-back roles, Ivan Strinic, Ricardo Rodriguez and Diego Laxalt for the left flank, Davide Calabria for the right. Giampaolo can choose from Jack Bonaventura, Hakan Calhanoglu, Krunic and even the versatile Fabio Borini for the midfield, with Samu Castillejo and Patrick Cutrone for the attacking unit.

What would be a creative yet stable side, as they continue to try and reach the highs of their past, Milan can only hope that this group will be suitable for Giampaolo as the players challenge each other to thrive and take their chances in this fresh start.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit:

Have your say...
To improve our squad, our nut board has to sell Laxalt, Strinic and Andre Silva first (give dry loan to other clubs if situation demands) and get a cover in midfield. Instead they are more interested in non-descript youngsters from French Ligue and sell Cutrone who is a proven performer in Serie A.
on the 27th July, 2019 at 2:38am
Fresh Start Part 9

Milan have been one of the worst run clubs in Europe over the last 13 or 14 years. Berlusconi stopped spending money on them around then and the 2007 CL win was the last hurrah of a great but ageing squad.

Since then its been freebies, band-aids and false starts with dodgy owners.
on the 26th July, 2019 at 11:43pm
Have to keep Cutrone, he is the future, he will still be at Milan when Giampaolo has gone. Should keep Castillejo and Suso as well, there may be games when the narrow 4-3-1-2 is not working and need to introduce some width.
on the 26th July, 2019 at 8:34pm
I second the remarks by David and Anonymous. If anything, Milan have had far too many 'fresh starts'. A fresh start now would be to go forward with a clear long-term plan.

When Seedorf was brought in as coach in 2013(?), there was all of this talk about having patience, focusing on developing the club youth and not expecting instant results. Fun fact – if that policy had actually been followed, Milan would have had 5-6 years of consistent development by this time. Imagine that...
on the 26th July, 2019 at 8:18pm
Yeah pretty sure we don't need 4 LBs or A.Correa if he costs 50m.
We still lack that pacey dribbler for the attack - and I really don't want to sacrifice Cutro to get him. We need to find a solution. Maybe we have to bet on Samu for that role.
Theo showed some real pace down the left against Bayern, hopefully he can bring that to the table in Serie A.
Bennecar hopefully turns out to a shrewd signing for us, but I'm still reeling from missing out on Sensi.
on the 26th July, 2019 at 4:47pm
jesus vallejo or rugani for CB ??


Correa - Zaracho

paqueta/-Bennacer- kessie/krunic

THEO - Romagnoli - Rugani/mussachio - Calabria

on the 26th July, 2019 at 3:44pm
This transfer window and the New stadium makes me feel optimistic for Milan for the first time in many years.

Looking fowart to the season and the stadium designs. (hope I will be as happy as the Everton fans whit thrir design)
on the 26th July, 2019 at 10:11am
I just love how this website has so many articles about how Milan are being revived this season when we all know its gonna be the same old story all over again.
It just goes to show how unrealistic these writers are when they write articles about Theo Hernandez as the new Messiah when the boy is just 21 years old and has accomplished absolutely nothing at all.
Be realistic. This season is gonna end the same way like the last few seasons.
on the 26th July, 2019 at 9:20am
Thank you for a nice insight and analysis - FI we would appreciate more tactical discussion blogs like this :)

Assuming we avoid major injuries I think the starting line up can be a surprise, assuming they gel really fast and adapt to Giampaolos tactics. It's a strong foundation.

I would prefer to see Calabria starting at RB though, he has proved himself very capable and improved in the past 2 years. A lot more of our attacks came from the right with him Kessie and Suso linking well last year
on the 26th July, 2019 at 8:28am
Milan's board literally think "grasses are greener on the other side". They keep buying players which at most are 1% better than the players they currently have, (and yes usually are not even better). What Milan needs are players that can carry the team alone and decide a match. We don't have currently such players except Suso when he peaks, and Bona. I wish we buy Marco Reus, or someone like him.
on the 26th July, 2019 at 6:57am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.