CM: Scoring worries emerge as Milan ponder big investment on Bologna star

By Oliver Fisher -

Joshua Zirkzee remains an in-demand profile ahead of the summer transfer window, but a report has questioned whether his scoring record is good enough for a club like AC Milan or Juventus.

As write, there are parallels between Zirkzee and Rafael Leao. Both players show off their dribbling, creativity and ability to be a spark from nothing, but both can spend long periods without scoring.

When Bologna take on Roma, Zirkzee will have crossed the line of going two months without an open play goal in Serie A, and one and a half months overall. The former Anderlecht man scored his last goal from open play in the capital against Lazio on 18 February, a game he got an assist in too.

His last goal when including penalties dates back to March 3 against Atalanta. Two important scalps, two fundamental goals, and many good things since then but no goals, not even in the 3-0 against Salernitana.

That broke a lean period for Thiago Motta’s team in general, who after winning in Bergamo scored just four times in five games which is not ideal when pursuing a spot in the Champions League places.

Zirkzee was visibly annoyed by not being able to help Bologna break the deadlock, despite a couple of flashes from his team during the 90 minutes.

The Dutchman always gives the idea of ​​being able to invent something, he is never out of the game, but if he does make the jump to a top club he cannot go eight weeks without scoring.

If for Leao the accusations of being less than clinical as a winger remain, imagine what could rain down on Zirkzee, one of the possible replacements for Olivier Giroud at Milan.

Milan’s interest has been documented for months as per the report, while Juventus are now being linked with a swoop for Zirkzee and Motta. Bayern can buy him back for €40m but do not seem inclined to do so while the player can reject a return to Munich.

In any case, Bayern are entitled to 40% of the proceeds from a future resale. Unless the goals start again though, that amount might be lower than the Rossoblu hoped.

Tags AC Milan Joshua Zirkzee


  1. I like him but it’s true that he doesn’t score enough for what would be expected in Italy. Knowing the environment he’ll be under pressure sooner or later for merely not scoring even when assisting 20 in the league. Not worth the gamble with that price tag imo.

  2. If he’s price tag is 70 M just leave him, 40-45 M is the max.. Else we should just go for sesko/Boniface/pavlidis etc

    1. That isactually a good option. If Scamacca can stay fit he is a great option actually. Its not bad to even bring back CDK as a CF not AM. He has same number of goals as Zirkzee with less playing time actually.

  3. The only time Zirkzee’s signing will make sense for us is if we had Mane on the Left (Leao not really far beneath his quality though), Salah on the Right, then Zirkzee can the become our Firmino to link up both devastating wingers.

    Other than that, we need a classic no. 9 right now with Zirkzee as backup or support striker which we don’t play with at the moment, if not properly utilized, he may become another CDK signing for us. He is a box player but not a proper CF, and we don’t play with an SS nor with a false 9.

    It’s a tricky situation, I don’t think we really need him.

  4. He’s great in the build up and helps others score more. He would be great in our team, I just don’t think he’s a 40mil player…

  5. Even when the buzz around Zirkzee was at its highest he was not scoring prolifically.

    It is not a proper comparison to compare his numbers with Giroud. Giroud’s numbers are produced taking up the field position of a poacher with virtually no contribution to the build-up. The absence of a 9 in the build up is one of the key reasons that Milan loses control of matches. Neither Giroud nor RLC, who in theory is someone who should be able to pick up the slack left by Giroud, is good at being a beachhead that enables us to progress the ball forward (which is a key component of build up play).

    The build-up is the biggest strength in Zirkzee’s game. While it is no simple thing to project how this would alter Milan’s performance statistically, there are many theoretical benefits which should follow. It should make Leao, Pulisic and Chukwueze even more effective because they can attack from positions closer to goal (rather than having to carry the ball from half way). It’s part of creating the artificial transition the analysts at Tifo talk about. I suspect RLC would get into even more scoring positions because he’d be the main beneficiary of that space that opens up behind Zirkzee (and runs into the box are his biggest strength).

    I am not sure why anyone was ever looking at Zirkzee if it was just about the goals scored column. He doesn’t even hit the ball particularly cleanly. He’s also playing his first full season in a top flight. He’s going to take more chances with experience.

    As a style of player, Zirkzee is exactly what Milan needs. But we don’t seem to have a clear understanding of ourselves or of where we want to take this thing.

    For a start, Jovic cannot be the number 2.
    He’s classically the poacher that plays in a front 2.
    20 years ago this wouldn’t need to be pointed out because a front 2 was the norm. But for a side like Milan that plays with 1 striker/CF and 2 wingers, this poacher does not really have a role. You can’t just convert these guys into false 9s either. The player has to have the tactical awareness and technical capability.

    So in reality a minimum of 2 strikers is required. That starts with someone like Zirkzee who can play as the lone 9 and for who 40-50m has been budgeted as someone with the quality to make Milan better. I would say that second 9 should be the same type of player, someone who can play the role in a way that allows the team to function in the same way. But the range of options we are looking at is all over the place.

    If they’re cooling on Zirkzee they should be warming on Scamacca as either side his poor January has been playing an almost identical style to Zirkzee but as a much better finisher / striker of the ball. Problem there is that it will cost the same money to prise him out of Atalanta now that he and Gasperini are on the same page. I expect clubs will baulk at being asked to pay the sum it would take to get him out of Atalanta. He will then be priced out of Italy.

    They should seriously be thinking about Lorenzo Lucca. The body of work he has put together has been extremely impressive in his first season of top flight match play. He’s shows everything: :really good hold up play, albeit without the creativity of Zirkzee and Scamacca, play as an old fashioned target man, the ability to poach as he took up much more aggressive scoring position late in 2023, he’s even banged shots from long range to show he can do that.

      1. Milan should be all over Lucca as the number 2. He’s the perfect style of player (with Okafor to be the point of difference). Having said that I am torn because I don’t want to stall Lucca’s development in that way. He needs another season starting as a CF in the Serie A. Hopefully het gets a promotion to a club like Fiorentina or just stays put.

        Honestly, the #9 we should sign should be Scamacca. Once you look deeply into his numbers there is a pattern of scoring and assisting when he starts that produces elite output. Now that he has just scored (a banger) and produced another assist against Verona his stats when he starts a game are as follows:

        18 starts all comps (for 1225 minutes, average 68 min per start)
        14 goals
        3 assists
        17 total contributions
        81 minutes per contribution
        87 min per goal

        I reiterate it is 18 starts and it captures his form from the start of the season. This is not a sample size based on one or even 2 months.

        His goals scored in Europa are UCL quality opponents Sporting (the best team in Portugal) and Liverpool (which has been first or second basically all season in the EPL). No stat padding there.

        If you include all 34 appearances this season it only increases his minutes played by 422 min to a total of 1,647. On that alone he is sitting at a contribution every 97 min (and from an average of 48 minutes per appearance).

        He has had the strangest season. The perception is so far divorced from the reality it isn’t funny.

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