Among the most positive notes from AC Milan’s victory over Bologna last night was the Serie A debut of Tijjani Reijnders, who tooks less than 15 minutes to get his first assist.
Calciomercato.com recall that Reijnders was signed from AZ Alkmaar for around €20m plus bonuses earlier in the summer and came in to help rebuild a department that needed reinventing after Sandro Tonali’s sale.
He arrived without much fanfare and amid the questions of those who wondered about whether he was up for the test, because at the age of 24 he was still playing for a club not among the top three in the Netherlands.
However, Reijnders began to prove everyone wrong from the first friendlies by showing his presence on the field, his tactical intelligence, his ability to always play with his head up, his vision of the game and his clean technique.
These qualities evaded those clubs who do not have advanced scouting departments but not Geoffrey Moncada and Giorgio Furlani, who moved ahead of Barcelona and beat the competition.
The proof is in the pudding, or in this case on the field. Reijnders was the first Milan midfielder to play an entire match in Serie A without misplacing a single pass since Opta has been collecting that data (2004-05). He had 28 of 28 successful passes against Bologna last night.
The Dutchman – who registered his first assist of the season for Olivier Giroud’s goal after getting 12 in 55 games last season – ran the most distance in the game last night too with 12.8km.
His movement speaks volumes too, as he spent 30% of the time walking, 58% running and 12% sprinting. Thus, he gives the right levels of dynamism and energy for the box-to-box role, but his precise passing and clever movements suggest he can play anywhere in the midfield.