BLOG ITALIA
Friday August 2 2019
Rafael Leao worth Milan sacrifice

Milan sacrificed Patrick Cutrone and paid €35m to Lille for Rafael Leao, but Vilizar Yakimov sees the Portuguese talent as a risk well worth taking.

After months of speculation, the inevitable finally happened. Earlier this week Patrick Cutrone completed his move from Milan to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a deal worth €18m plus bonuses.

The majority of the Rossoneri tifosi might feel that this is a sad ending to a story of a boy that grew up and became a man, wearing the jersey of the club that he loves, before eventually becoming a victim of the cruelty of the modern football world. While this is true to an extent, the Cutrone move also has another dimension, which is related to the purely technical choices of the club.

There is little doubt that Cutrone is a very good finisher, but Krzysztof Piatek is arguably a better one and the arrival of the Pole seriously limited the chances of the Rossoneri youth product for a place in the starting XI. Piatek and Cutrone are also very similar when it comes to the areas of the pitch that they occupy, which makes it hard for any Coach to field both of them at the same time.

While Piatek showed that he has the potential to lead the Rossoneri frontline, his struggles towards the end of last season also showed that Il Pistolero is most effective when he has an attacking partner right next to him.

All this led to Il Diavolo spending a figure close to €35m to get Rafael Leao from Lille, as the 20-year-old impressed during his debut season in Ligue 1, netting eight goals and providing three assists in 26 appearances.

Taking a closer look at the Portuguese’s striker abilities shows that his acquisition actually makes sense for Milan, as Leao is much more flexible, fast and capable with the ball at his feet than Cutrone. Yes, the new Wolverhampton acquisition is undoubtedly a better finisher, but considering that Piatek has already taken that role, Cutrone just doesn’t offer much else.

Standing at 1.88m tall, Leao is also a notable presence in the air, as he won 1.2 aerial duels per game last season in a Lille side that prefers to keep the ball on the ground. However, Rafael’s formidable height is complemented by impressive pace and athleticism, which actually makes him very similar to Genoa’s Christian Kouame when it comes to his physique and characteristics.

Kouame was one of the main reasons for Piatek’s sensational start to life in Italy, as the pair showed impressive cohesion and understanding for Il Grifone during the first half of the campaign.

The Rossoneri’s management had undoubtedly taken this under consideration before bringing in Leao, as it was already clear that Piatek performs best with a fast and athletic striker next to him.

However, Leao’s talents go way beyond his physical characteristics, as the Portuguese U21 international possess impressive dribbling skills and has a natural instinct when it comes to his movement in the attacking third.

While Cutrone was mainly dangerous in the box, which is now Piatek’s area, Leao can open up spaces from any position on the field and is capable of drifting out wide, as well as running behind the opposition’s backline. Leao’s acceleration in such situations can not only cause confusion and open up spaces for his partner, but also makes him extremely dangerous.

All this can work pretty well in Giampaolo’s favoured 4-3-1-2 formation with Lucas Paqueta occupying the trequartista role, Piatek and Leao pairing up front. However, it should be said that the Portuguese is capable of playing out wide as well and can potentially fill in the left wing role in a 4-3-3 setup, as this position proved to be problematic for Milan in the past, with each of Hakan Calhanoglu and Samu Castillejo struggling to perform there.

At first glance, spending almost twice the amount the Rossoneri got from Wolves for Cutrone for bringing in the former Sporting Lisbon prospect looks like a huge gamble for Milan. However, considering that it was already clear that Patrick’s chances at the club would’ve been very limited and that Andre Silva returns from his Sevilla loan, Rafael Leao’s arrival is a risk well worth the taking for the Rossoneri.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports. https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/

Have your say...
Awww dont be sad Heir. You're doing right. Whats the point to defend TRASH and becoming a pathetic fan? LMAO
on the 9th August, 2019 at 8:00pm
Ladies and Gentlemen, chill out pls. Allow me to quote our dear friend's words Maldini's Heir. "I'm done. I have no interest in a random group of players thrown together once every 12 or (sometimes) 6 months... I'll be watching Wolves this season." 
on the 9th August, 2019 at 2:16pm
@Anonymous;

You're attempting to fall back on logic, but your logic is other people suck.

It's easy for an 8 year old to understand that, and 8 year olds appreciate when 11 year olds show such consideration. So thank you for dumbing yourself down.
on the 8th August, 2019 at 3:13am
@Zoli

Thank you...

@Anonyomous

Just drop it, The whole FI is laughing at you. It will only get worse the more you try.
on the 7th August, 2019 at 12:19pm
@ anonymous
(really cool name, by the way)
I'm glad you find reasons to laugh here because seemingly no one else can, the rest of us simply feel sorry for you.
Your facts are rock solid and you can never be proved wrong - the village idiot is always right, we all know that, don't waste your precious time trying to prove it time and time again.
on the 7th August, 2019 at 12:27am
Zero sense? LMAO

There is nothing fancy here @Viktor. I just told a fact which is so easy to understand even for a 8 years old kid. I told here that Milan is TRASH and that's a fact based on their performances on and off the pitch for 8 years. And here you are, out of topic as usual, like digging out my personal life, really?

Instead of proving me wrong, you came out with stupid attempts to degrade me personally. Hahahaha... Poor Viktor!
on the 6th August, 2019 at 3:10pm
@Anonymous

You make absolutely zero sense and its so evident that this was a sensitive matter to you. Im over your pathetic attempts to write anything logic.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 9:51pm
I mean, we'll find out, but the current Portuguese Milan player is also versatile, young and talented.

Cutrone was actually perfect for Milan, which is what Milan don't seem to understand.

What good can come of this is if Milan move away from Correa.

If they go for Correa then people in the front office need to be fired.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 6:35pm
Here is a suggestion; why not stop trolling all together, huh? No matter which club you support or "hate"?
It is quite frankly pathetic no matter if you are the troller or the idiot triggered by the troll. Comments about girlfriends/wifes etc.
Stick to the game or maybe take your lovers quarrel elsewhere. Attention seeking stupidity...
on the 5th August, 2019 at 5:59pm
LOL @Viktor, you always know how to make me laugh.

Viktor's logic #46 : if I cant deny that Milan is trash , I will tell everyone I play football fun with friends every weekend.

Viktor's logic #78 : I'm 37 and I troll other fans everytime Milan is on good track but I will call someone kiddo and suggest them to get a girl if they troll my beloved Milan.

Hahahahaha... poor Viktor.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 2:53pm
@Anonymous

A new hobby? I still play football at a decent level at the age of 37, wtf do you? To me its a life style.

Married, stop trolling, no one with those comments could ever pull of a bird, lier.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 1:07pm
@Anonymous

I shudder to think about your poor wife. A grown-ass man with nothing better to do in his life. But then again she's the one who said yes to you so ...
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:16am
PLEASE DO NOT BUY CORREA THE BENCHWARMER FOR >25M!!!
financial transfer strategy at the club is messed up. in a nutshell, we sell them low and buy them high. leao in for 30m, cutrone out for 20m. a.silva in 38m out for 20m? calha in for 20m, out for 15m?
on the 5th August, 2019 at 7:00am
the writer is wrong to compare cutrone to leao. both different players. only reason pat was sold was cos a.silva to monaco broke down. tbf, neither were given a chance. i said a month ago that we should let cutrone go on loan for him to get games or sell with a buy back option. not thrown to the wolves. i thought it would be best for him to remain in italy. imo, gasperini would have got the best out of him at atalanta. they have a small squad & ucl too. good luck pat & come back to us.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 6:53am
I don't hate Milan. In fact, I like it. Milan always entertain me with non stop jokes on and off the pitch. Especially, when reading all whining and complaining, pathetic comments as always from Milan fans on FI comment section. I'm married btw. (If you still have a brain inside your thick head) Ever considered finding a new hobby @Viktor? LMAO
on the 5th August, 2019 at 4:02am
He looks like a decent prospect but we paid to much for him and overall losing cutrone weakens the team even if he isnt world class. Who scores the goals if piatek gets injured? Can a 20 year old with no serie A experience be trusted to? He has pace but so did Naing who's stats in France last season are better than his, maybe we should have brought him back. Being ruthless and pragmatic I could see the sale of Bonaventura justified given his injury history but Cutrone makes no sense.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 11:25pm
@Anonymous



"One word to describe AC Milan : TRASH.
One word to describe their fans : PATHETIC"


Lol.. seriously dude, why so much hate? Ever considered getting a girl?
on the 4th August, 2019 at 9:29pm
@Anonymous

One word to describe you : CLOWN.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 8:25pm
One word to describe AC Milan : TRASH.
One word to describe their fans : PATHETIC.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 5:51pm
Thing is, we haven't had a real coach for a long time now, and our players underperformed because of it, so their market value decreased over time. I'll keep most of the current squad if it works for Giampaolo and his system, even if they can adapt. One good season will bring back their true value.

It's madness to sell someone like Suso for 30 millions in the current market. Kessie 28m? Silva 20m? Please. Even Cutrone at 18 million was cheap.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 10:35pm
I can see the logic as far as the first XI goes, but who plays if Piatek needs a rest or gets injured?
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 10:28pm
Just stop the Correa transfer. Suso is doing great and he'll only get better as a trequartista. No need to sell him for peanuts only to then overpay for someone like Correa.

And I believe Biglia has been our best player in pre-season. So stop trying to get rid of him, you'll get no one better to replace him. He's the best back up for Bennacer, maybe even starter.

Sell Hakan if you must, and bring another, great midfielder, otherwise don't bother with the likes of Praet.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 10:26pm
Milan are throwing the baby out with the bath water this summer, now talk of Kessie going! This is a team that finished 1 point away from champions league places last season. This is Yong hong li all over again. The sale of Cutrone was a disgrace. They are throwing all their eggs in to the Giampaolo basket, it had better work.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 10:08am
If i were Leao, i would feel tension already, even before first game. Why? Because he`s not Cutrone... When your own fans say, that they will support Wolverhampton next season, you have no reason to give everything you have, on the pitch.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 8:02am
Milan should line up for the new season:

Gigio
Calabria-Musacchio-Romagnoli-Theo
Kessie-Bennacer-jack
Paqueta
Leao-Piatek

Do not sign correa as that is waste, sell to reduce the squad size and balance the books laxalt, calha, strinic, silva, im tempted to say borini too but he can cover a variety of roles and does play with spirit to sit him on the bench for now, the main thing is pick 11 and stick to Marco!!
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 7:56am
I agree with most of the comments from fellow ACM fans who have now suffered for years by incompetent transfer campaigns by incompetent Directors and owners inc berlo and gali, my only hope is that maldini is red and black through and through so I dont believe he would do anything to harm his beloved milan, I am sad to see cutrone go but I guess the new lad Leao does add much needed pace and a new direction, plus cutrone will get sick of living in the Midlands and be back on loan soon hopefully.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 7:45am
Im gonna repeat it again. Milan is TRASH. If you still have sanity left in you, leave this trash and spend your time, your money and your energy to something else. And comeback after the club's owner and directors start to respect Milan's history and its tradition. And above all, they respect you as valuable costumers and loyal fans.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 6:18am
The parting messages between Cutrone and Calabria and Locatelli summed it all. From Calabria: "It’ll be strange, so very strange, after all these years not to be in the same dressing room, wearing the same shirt, not having you constantly under my feet at Milanello. But that is football. That is life. You already know everything I think and what you need to do. It won’t be easy, but with your grit, you’ll manage it. I wish you the best, my friend, I will miss you.”. That's what it's about.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 12:56am
Now personally I think he'll struggle at Wolves and probably turn into another one of those journey men who'll have one big season with Brescia in the 29/30 season. But if that does happen (and I hope I'm wrong) it will not be because he lacked the quality. It'll be because of all of the disruption to his career. Every time a player moves they have to re-adjust. Apparently it takes 6 months to fully settle into a new job. That's nearly a whole season in football.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 12:51am
But probably the most important aspect of all this is that the whole thing that draws fans to teams are the players. What is a football club without the players? It's the players you watch week in/week out. Sure there's the history and the place as well but you have to feel a connection to the players. No player at Milan created that connection like Cutrone. Be in no doubt, Milan have just sold a future captain. The passion, energy and drive he showed was something that money cannot buy.
on the 3rd August, 2019 at 12:48am

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.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
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.