Addressing the elephant in the room: Three possible long-term replacements for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

By Lorenzo Raffaini -

Even at the ripe old age of 39 years old, Zlatan is unquestionably playing fantastic football, and it is clear he has developed and changed his game over the last couple of seasons, showing he is arguably a more complete player now, than ever before.

However, there is no surprise that his current form and ability to play most of our games in our packed match schedule is not sustainable. Therefore, a deputy to Zlatan whom can learn and develop under him whilst he is still here (especially if the rumours of him renewing until the end of the 2021-22 season are true) would be a wise move for the Milan management.

This idea of signing a young striker with high potential is a good one. While it could be argued that it is better to wait until the next summer transfer window and therefore the end of this this season, it is better to be proactive than reactive.

There is cover for the attack in both Leao and Rebic, however both of these players are not necessarily out and out strikers and both actually prefer the left wing spot, so a proper number 9 type player will be needed to be singed, but perhaps not in January and but rather next summer.

Nevertheless, here are three options that Milan should consider and put on their radar…

1. Breel Embolo

An imposing player who fits the mould of a strong, fast and physically dominant striker, Embolo is the type of player that Milan should favour especially, especially with regards to finding a player of the Zlatan mould.

Embolo could be regarded as more of a diamond in the rough, but he is a seasoned player in the Bundesliga and has played a large number of minutes last season (1,550) he could prove to be a smart signing and a big success.

He has eight goals and nine assists in 40 appearances for Gladbach across all competitions, with a bulk of those not being starts.

2. Donyell Malen

Donyell Malen lit up the Eredivisie with PSV last season and provided an exceptional 15 goal contributions (14 goals, 1 assist) in 14 games before suffering an injury.

He currently has seven goals and one assist in 11 appearances for the Eindhoven-based club this season already though showing he is fully back to business after his ligament injury.

This player really does possess some fantastic potential and with opportunity to sign for a reasonable price Milan should really keep tabs on Malen, especially given his reported media valuation of €20-30m and the fact his agent is Mino Raiola, who is Zlatan’s representative and could therefore help some kind of deal along.

3. Kasper Dolberg

Signing Scandinavian players seems to be a bit of a theme for Milan at the moment, and the Rossoneri could do a lot worse than Kasper Dolberg.

The Dane is a European-style striker – that being a pure centre-forward, with a knack for goal and decisive instinct, who could really tear it up in the Serie A.

Boasting some solid statistics in terms of goal contributions (14 in 23 games last season plus three in six so far this season), he  has now spent a year at OGC Nice where he was voted Player of the Year after his first season, and previously played in an impressive Ajax side.

The only barrier is that he joined Nice recently for €20.5m, and so trying to tempt him to leave – both from Nice’s and Dolberg’s perspective – could prove tough. Regardless, Milan should watch him closely.

Tags AC Milan Breel Embolo Donyell Malen Kasper Dolberg Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … What we need is an experienced player, a typical 9th ​​with charisma and who can score goals, even art goals. He must be developable but already at a high level of performance. He must be a leader who goes in front and shows the way for the team … Buy him as soon as possible so that he can learn what he does not already know from Zlatan. ..It will not be cheap but very profitable … He should probably not be younger than 25-27 years …

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