CM: Pioli studies the solutions in Ibrahimovic’s absence – a striker is needed in January

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will look for a new striker in the January window, a report claims, but for the time being Stefano Pioli is studying his options.

According to Calciomercato.com, there is a chance that Ibrahimovic – who suffered a hamstring problem in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Napoli – could return after his 10 days of result, or the muscular problem may need more time to fully heal.

Milan do not want to rush the Swede’s recovery and do not want to risk any further aggravation, because next month’s fixture schedule is not too daunting.

There are three decisive Europa League games – away against Lille and Sparta Prague and at home against Celtic – while the league games see Milan play Fiorentina and Parma at San Siro plus Sampdoria and Genoa at the Marassi.

The key dates for recovery are 20 December, when Milan will face De Zerbi’s Sassuolo away, and 23 December, when Inzaghi’s Lazio will arrive in Milan.

Pioli will still have to do without the 39-year-old at least for the Lille and Fiorentina games, and Lorenzo Colombo could get a start in the game against Lille.

In Serie A it is likely to be Ante Rebic who is the centre-forward as happened in Crotone before his elbow injury. The ‘new 9’ will have different characteristics from Ibra, but Milan will not change their game.

Meanwhile, Milan will hope that Rafael Leao is back as soon as possible after his brace against Spezia before getting injured while on international duty. He adds another body, be it up front or on the left wing.

The management made the somewhat bold call not to go out and get a back-up striker in the summer, but in November they have found their answer as to whether one is needed, and it is a resounding yes.

Tags AC Milan Ante Rebic Lorenzo Colombo Rafael Leao Zlatan Ibrahimovic