AC Milan set for a big summer after disappointing Serie A title challenge

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan went into the 2023-24 season with high hopes of mounting a serious challenge for the Serie A title. However, things have not gone to plan, with city rivals Inter Milan 14 points clear at the top of the standings with nine games remaining.

Unless Inter collapse badly on the run-in, Milan will have to console themselves with finishing runners-up at the end of the season. Online bookmakers think the result is a foregone conclusion, with several of them refusing to offer odds on Inter claiming top spot this term.

For punters who do believe in miracles, some of the UK’s best betting sites are offering odds of 150/1 to stage an unlikely comeback over the next couple of months.

While anyone backing Milan to overhaul their rivals this season is probably tilting at windmills, the gap between the two sides is arguably a little exaggerated.

Inter have bettered their points total from last season, which is unsurprising given they were able to make subtle tweaks to an already impressive squad last summer.

By contrast, Milan underwent a significant overhaul – one which was never likely to pay immediate dividends in a league as competitive as Serie A.

They made several shrewd signings including Samuel Chukwueze, Yunus Musah, Tijjani Reijnders, Noah Okafor and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. While not all of them have hit the ground running in Serie A, they will likely be much stronger for the experience when next season gets underway.

Another noteworthy signing last summer was Christian Pulisic, who pitched up at the San Siro with a point to prove after a disappointing spell with Chelsea. He settled in quickly at Milan, establishing himself as the team’s primary attacking creator. His goal at Verona last weekend was his 11th this season.

The 25-year-old was threatening whenever he was in possession and caused Verona’s defence endless trouble with his unselfish runs without the ball. Given the impact he has made in Serie A, Pulisic’s signing is a useful template for the club to follow this summer as they strive to bridge the gap on Inter.

Acquiring hungry players who are eager to impress does come with risks attached, but could pay huge dividends for Milan next season. The club’s management are reportedly planning several big moves this summer, although the overall business will likely be evolution rather than revolution.

High-earners Olivier Giroud, Simon Kjaer and Luka Jovic will probably leave the club, while the sale of at least one big-name player cannot be ruled out. Bayern Munich have been linked with Mike Maignan and Theo Hernandez, while Paris Saint-Germain are considering a move for Rafael Leao.

It would be surprising to see all three players sold, but one may need to be sacrificed to boost the club’s summer transfer budget. Although a transfer kitty of around €100m does not go a long in today’s market, there are players Milan can target who could enhance the squad.

A new striker to lead the line is the first order of business and two names stand head and shoulders above the rest – Benjamin Sesko and Joshua Zirkzee. Both have previously linked with Milan and would probably jump at the chance of joining them. Given he is already familiar with Serie A, Zirkzee is the more attractive option.

The 22-year-old has helped Bologna climb into contention for Champions League this season, but signing for Milan could fire him into another stratosphere.

Another pressing issue for Milan is to shore up a defence which has conceded 33 goals in 29 league games this season – a whopping 19 more than Inter have shipped.

Lilian Brassier of Brest was a transfer target for Milan in January and they will likely make another attempt to sign him this summer. The French centre-back’s contract expires in 2025, meaning the Ligue 1 club may be forced to sell him during the upcoming transfer window.

Wolfsburg’s Maxence Lacroix also has just over one year left on his current deal, while Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo is an enticing option on a free transfer.

Competition for places on the left flank is another area Milan must address, and is an issue which would be ramped up if Hernandez was sold. Having had success with recent acquisitions from the Premier League, Milan could return to the English top flight to resolve the problem.

They have reportedly been in talks with Arsenal over a move for Jakub Kiwior, and he may be allowed to join them on loan if a mandatory purchase clause is included in the deal.

If Milan can follow Inter’s lead by successfully tweaking their squad this summer, they would be a good bet to knock their rivals off their perch next season.

Tags AC Milan

1 Comment

  1. I’m going to throw it out there… when Moncada and Furlani took charge, the idea presented (or at least how I understood) was that there would be a lot more emphasis in scouting… getting the next Kalulu, Leao, Theo or the next best striker.

    Instead all our best transfer performers in transfer market were players that we had been linked with since the prior season (Loftus Cheek, Pulisic, Okafor, Raveyre) while some of the other ones (Pellegrino, Musah, Chukw) were disappointing and Reijndeers was a lukewarm positive. Also for primavera, the purchases have been disappointing (Simmelhack and Skoczylas). Jovic to me was a panic buy that we were lucky to get some value out of it and which we will not renew, so I’m not going there…

    so my point is that despite it being close to a year, I’m not seeing any big improvements in our scouting or getting to talent before others, or even being able to fill our gaps with cheaper players.

    Leaving aside the sale of Tonali, which I can consider positive mostly because he later got disqualified, I don’t see much improvement from the current management.

    The one thing that I’m happy current management did was the sale of Rebic, the way things had degraded he needed to be sold asap.

    So one question that I have is whether if we hadn’t sold Tonali and Krunic and had spent only 50 million to get Loftus Cheek, Okafor and Pulisic, do you guys think we’d be worse?

    Just to be clear, I’m not trying to start a flame war (Maldini widow or whatever), just trying to have an open conversation based on facts on what you guys think are the merits or negatives of the current management

    Also it’s entirely possible that some of the current season’s “failures” (Musah, Jovic, Chukw, Pellegrino, Romero, Terraciano.. and maybe Origi 😀 ) will be undisputed starters for our team in the near future, and if they do, I’ll give full props when that happens.

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