Bakayoko, Tonali, Brahim: How Milan could line up in 2020-21 if five new rumoured signings arrive

By Oliver Fisher -

Reports in the media seem to suggest that AC Milan are trying to complete the signings of three players for the midfielder, namely Tiemoue Bakayoko, Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz.

It would bring much needed reinforcement to a midfield department which looks a bit threadbare after the departures of Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura on free transfers, plus the fact Lucas Paqueta does not seem to be part of the plans.

However, having four quality holding players could cause somewhat of a logjam.

Meanwhile, Serge Aurier continues to be linked and German Pezzella now seems to be the favoured profile to bolster the centre-back department.

How might they all fit in? We take a look at the frightening two starting XIs Milan could have…

Option 1

The first option would be the one that most closely resembles the first choice starting XI.

Gianluigi Donnarumma would be in goal with Aurier taking the spot of starting right-back and Theo on the opposite side, flanking a centre-back pairing of Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer.

Bennacer and Kessie would remain the midfield tandem, with Ante Rebic and Samu Castillejo on the left and right of Hakan Calhanoglu respectively, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.

Option 2

This would be what some would consider to be the ‘depth option’, but actually resembles a pretty frightening team anyway, especially in midfield.

The rumours are that Asmir Begovic may be returning to take Pepe Reina’s spot as the deputy to Donnarumma so he gets the nod, while Calabria and Matteo Gabbia are joined by Pezzella in the defence (if he doesn’t arrive, insert Duarte or Musacchio).

Meanwhile, Theo keeps his spot because at the moment there are no concrete links to left-backs to play second fiddle to the Frenchman, but Matias Vina could arrive from Palmeiras, or Laxalt may stay.

The double pivot of Bakayoko and Tonali looks frightening on paper and those two could form a lethal partnership – both could even push for first team spots if Bennacer or Kessie underperform.

Saeleamaekers would be on the right wing and the explosive Rafael Leao on the left either side of new addition Brahim Diaz, who could also push for the first XI.

Angelo Colombo would be up front, but it cannot be ruled out that a deputy to Ibrahimovic arrives, or perhaps Rebic plays in that role.

What XIs would you like to see Milan use next season? Tell us in the comments!

Tags AC Milan Asmir Begovic Brahim Diaz Sandro Tonali Serge Aurier Tiemoue Bakayoko


  1. By having 4 monster in midfielder,
    Milan can change to 4312,back to kaka era

    Theo, romag, xxx, aurier.
    Bennacer, bakayoko/kessi, tonali.
    Ibrahimovic, rebic/leao.

    1. Pioli would be crazy to change form after recent results. I think he’s thinking about sometimes changing to 3-5-2 in-game.

  2. Think it would be the wisest to continue with the recipe that actually made us play as well and consistently as we did post lockdown. If we start changing too much there is a chance of breaking something that is allready working and we would then have been smarter to have hired rangnick but obviously it doesnt exclude tactical changes when needed.

    ?/calabria – kjær/gabbia-romagnoli-theo
    kessie – benaceer
    ?/castilejo/saele – hakan/diaz/maldini- rebic/leao
    Ibra/scamacca/columbo/luan capanni (if renewed)

    1. I wouldnt necessarily call foreign players mercenarres but i fully agree that milan or for that matter any other team should have a majority of its squad being native players. It creates cohesion within the squad, it strengthen the league and international team. Players that are international players will allready be accustomed to eachother and so on.
      When that is said italian players are generally more expenssive than players of equal talent from abroad so for the time being i can atleast wait to see far more italians implemented within the squad. In the longer run i will expect more italians within the squad though.
      Finally milan has allways been the most succesfull with a majority of native players.

      1. We have always grown our own, and brought them through the ranks. Even if loaned out to series b and c. Berlusconi demanded the majority being Italian Rivera would have done the same. We seem to be buying players from abroad who are not of Milan class just for the sake of it. We have also let to many home grown talent, Cutrone. Locatelli to name 2.
        If you look at other leagues will see we are one of worst for percentage home players. England must be worse.

        1. I believe we are fully on the same page and im not even italian but i for one started watching italian football because of the italians and offcourse for the fact that we had the flying dutchmen as well. When that is said i do think we isnt really in a position where we can be too picky currently due to our financial restraints but in 5 years or something i would hope we will have 2/3 of our squad being italians.
          I was really sorry to see cutrone leave us as i had great hope for the lad but i do think locatelli was unreasonable in regard of demanding a transfer only to sassuolo because that somewhat limited our negotiation power so at this point cant really say im sad he is gone or that i miss him as he didnt show the right commitment. Overall though im allways for implementing homegrown talent and allways has had that stance and generally speaking im of the view if players arrive from abroad id expect them to showcase something out of the ordinary otherwise the jobs can just as well go to italian players.

  3. If we are starting Colombo Calabria Salemeaker and Pezella we are in big trouble lol.

    Rebic Hakan Diaz
    Benacer Tonali/Kessie
    Theo Roma Kajer Dumphries

    Would have been nice to grab Szobozlai but if we can get a CB like Fofana then I’m happy and it’s a solid market. Hope Diaz doesn’t have a buy back clause or dry loan. Doesn’t make sense to develop a player for another club. Pls no Aurier! Dumphries only

    1. the more I look into it, the sweeter that Szobo deal would have been
      saw him against Liverpool (albeit it was a friendly)…the ease with which he was creating was ridiculous. And the confidence in his eyes was boosting his skills even further

      other that that, I’ve kind of given up on trying to figure out our squad for the soon to be here next season. I was really hoping that we’d get to fix our right side and relieve Kessie from running around like an abused horse to cover defensively for both flanks (both wing and back) and by that I mean no Aurier or the Watford spaniard. I might have been a bit foolish, but I was honestly hoping that we could sign both Chiesa and Dumfries. Little did I know… Now I fear that a starting R(W)B won’t be bought at all and I am fairly certain that a RW won’t happen either. I also wanted Ibra to stay like there was no tomorrow, until this whole contract drama unfolded. I don’t think it did us good. By all means, I am not here to save Elliot money, but the way he conducted himself and changed the focus on money felt a bit demoralizing (I, for one, wouldn’t have minded us going for a replacement and letting him go. Even though by the looks of how thin our budget is, a renewal seemed like the only option).

      I was always a big fan of us getting Tonali, but not that big of a fan of us getting both Bakayoko (a deal which is also fairly ridiculous if we end up paying 32mil for him) and Tonali. It should be one or the other and I believe it will be only Baka.

      The Brahim deal is sketchy as well, but understandable. Would have preferred that hungarian kid or the russian that went to Atalanta. In the current state, that’s the most we can afford. Hopefully Elliot will soon sell (I still have slim hopes that it will happen before the end of October)

      so from where I am standing, the team would be something like

      Donnarumma (I still believe there is a 25% chance that he’ll leave for a good lump of money) – Calabria/Conti (I prefer Calabria) – Kjaer – Romagnoli – Theo – Kessie – Bennacer – Calhanoglu (not that happy with this either, but let’s see) – Rebic – Ibra – Casteliejo

      And yes, our signings will be just for depth and nothing of a wow, which is fairly sad come to think about it. Bakayoko and Pobega as subs, Laxalt on the left (unless he is sold and then *insert cheap LB backup option*), Saelemaekers (even starting at times), Leao, Brahim and potentially one of the kids brought from Primavera this summer (the little hulk there – Colombo) + Maldini to warm the bench and cost us some matches in EL, Gabbia and another backup CB

    1. Hey there agustinar I dont think so but i for one i post on both sites fairly frequently and also see some of the people from over there here as well from time to time.

  4. Every good team has a better bench,I think they should stick with what they did after the Covid 19 pandemic break and maybe his substitutions will come on to add more than making too much changes to break that spell we ended the season with.

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