AC Milan sat in seventh place in the Serie A table when the season saw it’s postponement take place. Whether the season returns or not, Milan are not likely to make Champions League. They’re 12 points behind fourth place, and although they’ve seen improvement in the second half of the season, they simply were and are not performing well enough. With no Europe, or best case Europa League, on the cards, here’s a projection of Milan’s starting eleven next season.
AC Milan’s Potential Starting Eleven Next Season
Don’t be surprised if Gianluigi Donnarumma departs. He has been loyal to the club, but his quality is that of a Champions League player. Furthermore, with the upcoming European competition and World Cup, Donnarumma needs to cement his place as Italy’s starting goalkeeper. With that being said, Alessio Cragno might very well be Milan’s goalkeeper. He’s only 25 years old, and has been performing well for Cagliari. Milan can secure him with less than half of Donnarumma’s transfer price-tag, and he is ready to immediately start.
Alessio Romagnoli will be the main centre-back. The young captain has not shown interest in leaving and looks to be committed to improving Milan. He is the staple in defence in Milan’s starting eleven. His partner at the back is from the academy, Matteo Gabbia. The youngster made his professional debut before the season’s postponement.
Left-back belongs to Theo Hernandez. He is arguably Milan’s Player of the Season this year. His lighting pace and attacking efforts make him dangerous. He does, however, need to improve defensively. Davide Calabria and Andrea Conti have disappointed at right-back. Expect Milan to push for Barcelona-owned Emerson de Souza in a loan deal. Although tied to Real Betis until 2021, Barcelona can terminate the deal and loan Emerson to a larger club. He has three goals and five assists this season.
Holding the line at midfield will be Sandro Tonali. Although not currently a Rossonero, Milan should push to capture the Italian starlet. He has all the makings of the next great Italian midfielder, and if Milan are serious about improving, Tonali is the perfect target. He doesn’t need Champions League football just yet, but would set Milan on the path towards that goal.
Ismaël Bennacer is also going to be a starter. Far and beyond Milan’s top midfielder this season, the Algerian is in the club’s long-term plans. Like Romagnoli, he is a staple in Milan’s starting eleven. He may not score many goals and provide many assists, but the 22-year-old does all the little things necessary to be successful.
Already spending big on Tonali, expect Franck Kessie to retain his position in Milan’s starting eleven. With Tonali and Bennacer on board, the Ivorian will be more free to do what he does best-tough football with a never-ending engine. If he tones down his tendency of wasting possessions with long-range shots, Kessie can still grow into a class midfielder.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu seems to also be cemented in Milan’s starting eleven. Although obviously talented, the attacking midfielder has had his fair share of, for lack of a better term, horrible performances. With more help up front and behind him, however, perhaps Çalhanoğlu may finally blossom.
Ante Rebić arrived at Milan last summer with plenty of fanfare, but hardly appeared in the first half of the season. Once he got his opportunity, however, he shined with six goals post-January. Rebić is an interesting breed of a footballer, he can burn defenders with his pace but can also overpower others with his strength. The Croatia international can offer so much, and his loan move must be made permanent.
To solve Milan’s goal-scoring woes, the club must pursue Mauro Icardi. The Argentine is quietly having a successful season at Paris Saint-Germain, but may not be in the club’s future. His future is not at Inter Milan either, so Milan would be wise to take him on.
Icardi does struggle with off-field issues at times, but sometimes talent outweighs that. The striker is very familiar with Serie A, and would instantly make Milan an attacking force.
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