CM: Milan have two strategies in mind for playmaker hunt – the four profiles considered

By Oliver Fisher -

The biggest issue facing the Milan management at present is finding the right profile and the right deal to reinforce the attacking department. reports that there are numerous profiles that Paolo Maldini is considering to replace Calhanoglu, who left for Inter. In particular it seems that Josip Ilicic of Atalanta, Nikola Vlasic of CSKA Moscow and James Rodriguez of Everton have been linked above all.

Regarding the former, Gian Piero Gasperini has now said publicly that he will be allowed to leave, but Atalanta want €8m and Milan do not want to go above €3m, but they intend to attempt the lunge towards the middle of August. In Maldini’s plans, Ilicic is more of a right winger and his arrival – which is also linked to the departure of Castillejo – does not exclude that of a No.10.

James Rodriguez’s statements yesterday caused a lot of intrigue, as the Colombian said: “Which league would I like to play in? First of all, where they want me. Serie A would be a good option, but I don’t know what will happen in the future. I played in Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, here in England… only Italy is missing.”

The former Real Madrid star is not part of Benitez’s plans, nor is Everton part of his and his price is around €6m, a figure certainly within the reach of Milan for a player who has had many injury problems in recent years.

Then there is Vlasic, who also seems to be pushing for a move. The words of Beresutski – the CSKA coach – on July 20 seem to show that his future could be away from Russia: “Everyone knows Vlasic’s situation, Nikola has said many times that he wants to change clubs and play at a higher level.”

The 23-year-old Croatian also wants Milan and the Rossoneri have already made an offer to CSKA, but it was rejected. In the meantime, Zenit are now leading the race but the great rivalry of the two clubs complicates the deal. Milan have no intention of paying the €35m release clause for Vlasic but are willing to invest a significant amount in him, on a loan with option to buy deal.

Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea remains the favourite target for Maldini and Massara, and the excellent relations they have with the leadership of Chelsea could favour the deal. The Moroccan is not considered essential by Thomas Tuchel and can leave, while Milan would like to loan him with an option to buy and a buy-back set above €25m.

There is one thing that unites these four players: their tactical flexibility. All four can either play in the role of pure attacking midfielder, behind Ibrahimovic or Giroud, or starting from the right wing and drifting in. The idea could therefore be precisely to sign a player who can play for the starting position in the centre with Brahim Diaz, but also who can take over from Saelemaekers during the game.

Milan have in mind two types of operation: either a small investment like James Rodriguez or Ilicic that wouldn’t rule out another arrival, or an important investment for the future like Ziyech or Vlasic.

READ MORE: Milan boss Pioli opens up about family and life away from football in revealing interview

Tags AC Milan Hakim Ziyech James Rodriguez josip Ilicic Nikola Vlasic


  1. James Rodriguez is not a ‘small investment’, he’s on a huge salary with no resale value.

    Milan’s strategy is “wait and see what we can get with £5m up front” I think. Vlasic would seem the only ideal profile (player whose value might rise over the length of a contract) but he’s probably the hardest deal to complete as a result.

  2. Let’s be honest and stop the constant BS here. We aren’t signing anyone other than a cheap player like Illic at best. All this other shot is just to sell papers. We have no $$$$. We can’t even play $3M for Kaio Jorge lol. Fkn embarrassing. We will be lucky to finish in Europa spot this year. What a fkn shame

  3. It is not so much about the amount of money rather than their calculated worth to Milan. They assess the player and assign a value to them based on analytics and will not exceed that cost to acquire the player. This is a fair system to use as a responsible management team. I am starting to wish some Milan fans would relax and think things through before lambasting the club for being “cheap” and not considering the whole picture

    1. So Kai Horge is worth 2 but not 3m? Hmmm…that’s a convenient way to rationalize not spending money. You can say that about any player we miss out on. “Well we don’t think he was with the extra $$$ lol. At this rate we won’t get anyone. We have no money and unless we sell we aren’t spending Anything. Wonder what your take will be when we sell Hauge and use the $ to buy Illic. Wonder if the analytics will line up then lol.

      1. You may not want to hear this, but you are correct. He could very well be worth 2 million but not 3. As in life, a budget is a budget for a reason. You can’t just spend an extra million because it is comparatively little. You need to work within the allotted budget and get the best value for the money spent. That is where analytics and scouting come in. I hate to tell you but the Club staff is far better and more informed than you and I at this. Do they make mistakes? Sure, but all the fans moaning about Hauge and not buying player X or player Y need to realize that this is just not how this business works anymore and trust people who are more experienced and knowledgeable to do their jobs. 2nd place in Serie A, a return to the Champions League and financial responsibility should give them that leaway.

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