GdS: Five potential Kessie replacements for Milan suggested by analytics companies

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are likely to be in the market for a new central midfielder this summer given the struggles in that area this season, and some targets have been suggested.

La Gazzetta dello Sport report how RedBird Capital – the owner of Milan and Toulouse – use data and algorithms when it comes to transfer targets, and Gerry Cardinale recently revealed that Toulouse’s first window was done using data alone, so the Rossoneri could go down that path too.

The paper asked three companies that work with numbers and artificial intelligence – Driblab, Stats Perform and Wallabies – to select suitable profiles for the Rossoneri who could help replace Kessie. They were tasked with finding a player under 27 with physicality plus high values ​​in ball recovery and attacking impact.

The first name suggested was Tyler Adams who moved from RB Leipzig to Leeds in the summer for around €20m. He does not score as many goals as Kessie did but he is a quality player who recovers and distributes a high number of balls every game. From the beginning of the season to mid-March he was available for 24 Premier League games, starting all 24.

The next name is Davide Frattesi, and the obvious first point is that the Sassuolo midfielder is nowhere near as physical, but Driblab’s research showed they are ‘almost twins’. They make the same contribution in build-up, have the same relationship between tackles and dribbling suffered and similar data in ball progression. However, his asking price will be €25m+ and Juventus are keen.

Adem Zorgane is an interesting name that was put forward, and the team-mate of Ismael Bennacer for Algeria has been playing in Belgium for two years for Sporting Charleroi, a league that Milan scout closely. He has amassed 4 goals and 7 assists and has become the best midfielder in Belgium in terms of pass completion.

The penultimate name on the list is Wendel, who hailed from Fluminense in Brazil, spent two and a half seasons at Sporting CP and three at Zenit St. Petersburg, who paid €20m for him and he has been a starter ever since. He is dynamic, he recovers balls and he knows how to make the right runs as his 7 league goals this season show.

Finally we come to Alhassan Yusuf of Antwerp, another team in Belgium. He is a Nigerian who moved from Goteborg, and compared to Kessie he is a more defensive midfielder but he has energy, with a 65% duel win rate. He has a valuation of less than €10m while Leicester and Wolverhampton in the Premier League are keen.

Other players selected by the Driblab, Stats Perform and Wallabies data were Sambi Lokonga (Crystal Palace), Johann Lepenant (Lyon), Cheick Doucoure (Crystal Palace), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting Lisbon), Vinicius Souza (Espanyol), Ylber Ramadani (Aberdeen) and Stijn Spierings (Toulouse).

Tags AC Milan Adem Zorgane Alhassan Yusuf Davide Frattesi Tyler Adams Wendel


  1. Seems like moneyball already has major issues if Tyler Adams is said to replace Kessie. If both fit, how would he ever start over Bennacer or Tonali? Makes no sense.

    All of the other players who knows but dont think Adams would even start for Roma or Fiorentina. Sassuolo to replace Frattesi, possibly.

    1. Amarabat won’t be bad but instead of all this troubles why didn’t there just renew kessie contract simple I think in all the free transfer that happened in Milan kessie is the most missed.

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