CM: Chukwueze remains a mystery amid tactical and psychological difficulties

By Oliver Fisher -

Samuel Chukwueze has become an enigma of sorts at AC Milan, and tonight against Stade Rennais he should start on the bench despite it seeming like a good opportunity to field him from the first minute. write in detail about ‘a mystery called Samuel Chukwueze’ who was the most expensive purchase of Milan’s 2023-24 summer mercato and yet remains a big question mark when the season is already past the halfway point.

The Nigerian forward was signed on a long-term deal after Milan agreed a fee of €20m plus €8m in bonuses with Villarreal, but he is encountering greater difficulties in adapting than expected in his first season, in Italy mainly at a tactical level and in understanding team dynamics.

The paradox is that Pioli has tried to make changes to the way that Milan’s attacking build-up works by relying less on individual plays and on prevailing in as many one-on-one situations as possible, in favour of a more measured approach.

The best version of Chukwueze – the one we saw in LaLiga – is a player who thrives precisely in situations whereby he is able to beat his man in isolation, showing off his dribbling and ability to cut inside to create or score.

There is also a psychological component to Chukwueze’s difficult start because he has not had consistent starts and this might well translate into a lack of confidence, as well as the other obvious problems like falling out of match rhythm and failing to build chemistry with team-mates.

A muscle injury at the beginning of October which kept him in the pits for around 30 days which did not help, and his recent participation in the African Cup of Nations meant another month away from Milan and that has inevitably slowed him down too.

The competition where the 24-year-old has shown his best is in the Champions League where there is a greater propensity from opponents to play matches in a more open and offensive way. He scored the equaliser against Dortmund at home, and the winner away against Newcastle.

The game tonight in Rennes could mark his debut for the season in the Europa League, a competition he won in 2021 with Villarreal. However, Pioli has still not decided whether to field him of Christian Pulisic despite the fact the American was not in great shape for the Monza game.

Having signed until June 2028 and with a salary of €4m net per season, there are inevitable questions and reflections on whether Chukwueze was the right man. Nonetheless, he will of course be given time.


Tags AC Milan Samuel Chukwueze


  1. Big price tag move to a big club…. We’ve been here before with a certain Belgian…… I still think Chukwueze’s performances have been miles ahead of CDK’s though and he still has a way to go in the season to prove himself 👌.

    1. Wasn’t even a big price tag. Dude just hasn’t integrated well into the team yet. It should’ve been expected considering it was his first big move (new country, culture, club, league). Plus he didn’t do the pre season, that’s always a big factor, even tho people might think its not.

      We can see those who came early and did the pre season are doing better than the ones who came a bit late lt.
      Think chuck will start pulling his share next season, if we don’t get rid of him. For now it is what it is, maybe he wakes soon, maybe not

        1. I don’t think they’ll sell him tho.

          A) they’d lose face and B) he does do a lot of def work. Vs monza for example he was the only one to try, and succeed, in atk play (in first 45) and was always back as well giving a hand to florenzi.

      1. Don’t forget that Chuk was on his last year of contract when we signed him. So, it’s a pretty big number. Chuk didn’t even have a good moment thru the last African Cup (just like CdK on the U-21 Euro). At least he’s fielded on his real position in this Pioli’s Milan, so there’s less variables if he (really) fails.

          1. Well we ended up in paying them 20 + 8 mil (some of ’em must be easy achievements). And ‘A’ good season is the key word there.

      2. Yep agreed. I did just mean big price tag for our transfer window- not in general. He had the weight of being the most expensive- like CDFlop.

    2. From the beginning, it was a pretty bad deal, their were many other options available, if you look at his game, you see instantly he is a one trick pony, and truth be told having a pure left foot player playing on the right is not ideal, they usually turn out to be one trick ponies, and most of the time interrupt the play and slow it down, the fee paid was too much, and for you too know he was not worth it, Milan was the only club trying to buy him.

    3. Imagine had we just signed Pulisic, RLC and [Thuram] and kept Gabbia (instead of faffing), Tonali (who wasn’t banned), Saelmakeers, and CDK.

      We’d have a far more settled side, a striker, and a lot more spare cash.

      And it’s got nothing to do with the players. It’s not about ability it’s about stability.

      1. Thuram wasn’t coming here. Gabbia got better only after Villareal, Tonali DID get banned, Saelemakers was never good enough for Milan and CDK was afraid of his own shadow.

        Your point doesn’t hold up.

  2. What tactical difficulties? He thrives at beating his man? No he doesnt, he just cuts inside and does nothing, or he runs into the defender and loses the ball. Psychological difficulties? When you don’t perform well you don’t start… simple as that is why Pulisic is starting over him. He’s just a bad player

  3. Waste of money, should have got Orsolini, experienced, scores goals, knows the league….oh well always dazzled by the delights of the sparkling exotic foreign names

        1. that’s where a good director needed,
          do U remember how much Uncle Faster get Z?
          Leo get Kaka T.Silva? Maldini get Theo Maignan Tonali?

        2. I think he can be a good investment.
          If we, hypothetically get Motta, Zirkzee and Orsolini, we will have 2 players who are performing well as well as their coach, in other words, elements who already know each other.
          With all these growth decree/ UEFA lists problems, going for Italians might be a good option.
          Plus, honestly, I don’t think we need to go for many players this summer. Aside from a striker and a defensive midfielder, there are not so many positions we need to adress.

    1. yep Orsolini is younger version of Berardi, he’s the heart of Bologna, a player who carry a team, he did regularly not only this season.

  4. This really isn’t a mystery if you have watched football long enough.

    Some people hit the ground running, like Pulisic. While others take time to settle in, like CDK, Chuk, even Leao.

    Just human nature. Some take longer than others to settle – doesn’t mean they are not good footballers. I mean look at CDK now. THere’s a great player in him, Maldini wasn’t wrong. Just didn’t fit our system and the pressure that comes at San Siro…

    Chuk will come good. Just needs more time. Luckily for us we signed an injury-prone “Chelsea Reject” who is carrying the right wing while Chuk settles in.

  5. Jedan Milan ne može uzgajat igrače i to od preko 30 mil eura te čekati da prorade ovu ili sljedeču sezonu a možda i nikad !! Čukveze , De Katelare i slični su OGROMNE greške Smješno da takvi savjetnici preporučuju i ostaju nakon pogrešaka u klubu i dalje . Milan je trebao kupit Berardija ili Orsolinija

  6. His supposed ability to “beat his man in isolation, showing off his dribbling” is a description that has never materialized. More often than not, he turns over the ball when he he tries to beat his man in isolation on the wing. One underappreciated aspect of Pulisic is that he has gotten better at not forcing things when he is well-defended. He does NOT turn the ball over like Chuk. He bides his time, cuts his losses and dishes off. Turnovers matter.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.