AC Milan have their best odds in recent memory to qualify for the Champions League. The team was revamped from ownership to players this past summer, but they have still struggled in parts. Injuries have played a part in their struggles, but there’s no question that their on-field product could and should be better. The January transfer window is soon approaching, so which transfers should be on the Rossoneri’s wishlist?
AC Milan’s January Transfer Wishlist
Alessio Romagnoli is the heart and soul of Milan. The 23-year-old captain puts in elite performances game in and game out and has single-handedly won Milan games through his clutch goals. Milan, however, have yet to find a suitable partner for their captain in the centre of the defence.
Mattia Caldara is still likely to be the answer, but his season has been hampered by injury. Matteo Musacchio was a suitable replacement for Caldara, but a recent injury now has him sidelined for six to eight weeks. This leaves Milan with Cristian Zapata and Stefan Simic as available options. Truth be told, they are not Champions League-level players.
According to Mark Ogden of ESPN FC, Eric Bailly of Manchester United could be an option. Bailly arrived at Old Trafford in high regard, but United manager Jose Mourinho has rarely found use for him. The key to acquiring Bailly is his expiring contract. The Ivorian’s contract expires at the end of this season, as Ogden has reported. This would allow Milan to complete a transfer deal in at a cut-rate price.
Bailly is physically tough and, although he sometimes struggles in the air, his knack for ball interceptions would be welcomed to a side that struggles to keep clean sheets. Milan is in desperate need for another centre-back and Bailly might be looking for greener pastures. The match makes sense, especially if the Rossoneri can negotiate a discount.
Milan struggle to find creativity and stability in their midfield. To make matters worse, starter Lucas Biglia is set to be sidelined for up to four months. The bright side, however, is that star Brazilian Lucas Paqueta from Flamengo is set to join the team in January. Brazilian media have reported that Milan will pay up to €35 million for his services, a gamble that many believe will pay off. Paqueta is more of an attack-minded midfielder, drawing comparisons to Milan legend Kaká. These comparisons are not far off. Paqueta is a proven goal scorer in Brazil and also excels in his dribbling flair and passing game. The Rossoneri faithful will welcome his youth and creativity.
Paredes is still young at just 24 and already very experienced in European football. More specifically, Paredes has a combined 71 appearances in Italian football with Chievo Verona, Empoli and AS Roma. The Argentinian, however, currently plays for Zenit in Russia. Paredes is somewhat comparable to Biglia. Besides both being Argentina internationals, Paredes has the qualities of a ‘regista.’ He’s a deep-lying midfielder who contributes in defence as well as scoping out the entire field. His passing ability would instantly upgrade Milan’s midfield and a return to Italian football could entice him.
Adrien Rabiot has already proved himself as an effective player in a star-studded team like Paris Saint-Germain. Although more known as a central midfielder, he too has ‘regista’ qualities. His passing is exceptional and he often wins back balls on the defensive side. He’s only 23 and has already accumulated nearly 150 appearances for PSG. Like Bailly, Rabiot’s current contract will be expiring soon. Leonardo, Milan’s sporting director, holds the key to this potential transfer. As PSG’s former sporting director as well, he has strong relations with the French team’s management. If PSG see Rabiot surplus to requirements, or if Rabiot prefers a new challenge, Milan need to jump on the opportunity.
Aaron Ramsey is another player approaching the end of his contract. Ramsey is a do-it-all midfielder who has proven himself with a top side in Arsenal. He has a knack for finding players in goal-scoring positions and has a reputation of scoring spectacular goals himself. Milan quickly emerged as a suitor for the Welshman once Ivan Gazidis was brought in as the team’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Gazidis was the former CEO of Arsenal, before and during the time that Ramsey made a name for himself. If reports are true that Ramsey intends to leave, Gazidis may pull the trigger on bringing in one of his former players.
Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone are two of Serie A’s finest strikers. The issue at hand is that they are Milan’s only two strikers. Fabio Borini does not fill the void as a third option. Borini has failed to impress for a few times across Europe now, making him expendable. Milan have also begun playing with a 4-4-2 formation, leaving no true striker as a substitute.
One rumour that has been heating up has been Zlatan Ibrahimović‘s return to Milan. ‘Ibra’ was part of a Scudetto-winning side during his time in Milan and was arguably the most feared striker in all of Italy. After the Los Angeles Galaxy failed to qualify for Major League Soccer’s play-offs, Ibra can consider finding play time elsewhere. The Swede will bring a veteran, savvy style to Milan, but his fearless attitude will also help one of the youngest squads in Italy. In regards to a possible Ibra transfer to Milan, Mino Raiola (Ibra’s agent) told Rai Sport, “I can confirm what has already been said to you before, the relation with the new Milan management is excellent; therefore all roads remain open.”
Ibra’s return would not only be nostalgic, but he still has the capability of being an effective striker in a top league.