It is fast approaching the time that AC Milan will have to make a decision on the future of centre-back Simon Kjaer, who is on loan until the end of the season.
In the January transfer window Milan were bereft of any patience for injury ridden Mattia Caldara and decided to send him back to Atalanta, the place he initially made a name for himself.
This made Milan one man short in terms of defensive cover and with Leo Duarte out until March they decided to dip their hand in the transfer market and find a more experienced partner for Alessio Romagnoli.
Simon Kjær on loan at Atalanta from Sevilla before he moved to the Rossoneri, and having worked with Massara in their stint together at Roma, the Milan sporting director convinced Kjaer to join Milan on an initial six-month loan deal.
There is an option to buy inserted at the €2.5-3.5m figure depending on which outlet you believe, and here are four reasons Milan would be silly not to use it…
1. The model defender
Simon Kjaer stands at 6 feet and 3 inches tall (191 cm) which makes him a very difficult player to deal in 1v1 situations. His long legs make it extremely difficult to side step him and aerially he brings in a presence Mateo Musacchio or even Leonardo Bonucci couldn’t.
Against Juventus he showed the more agile side of the game by sprinting across the pitch and take away the ball from Federico Bernadeschi and preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.
These physical attributes has helped head coach Stefano Pioli to successfully push up his defence to a higher line and press opponents, which leads to turnovers and chances for Milan.
In a particular sequence of play, Milan had the ball out on the left side with Theo Hernandez who was looking to charge forward, but he was well covered by Rigoni and two other Lecce players.
Theo quickly passed back to the calm Kjaer who quickly punted out a brilliant long ball to Samu Castillejo on the right wing effectively switching the play and catching Lecce disorganised in defence. It was not the first time that Kjaer has shown his ability with the ball at his feet.
Having a centre-back who can basically play the role of quarterback is such a useful weapon for a coach to have, especially teams who play possession based football and rely on springing traps with balls directly into dangerous areas – like Ralf Rangnick will most probably try to do when he arrives.
3. Economic no-brainer
The option to buy that Milan inserted into the deal is just €2.5m, which in today’s market circumstances would be a top bargain despite the fact he is 31.
A player of his quality and experience – and one not over reliant on pace – can easily give another 2-3 years of top performances in his prime and can even provide good cover in case of injuries to other players.
4. A good fit for Ralf
Kjaer with his skillset and his physical attributes would be tailor made to suit Rangnick’s aggressive style of press.
The German, a master of bargains, would definitely not be overlooking the chance to sign the Dane at €2.5m given his wealth of experience in Serie A.
Some of the defensive targets that Milan have been linked with – the likes of Nikola Milenkovic and Robin Koch – are younger but very similar in style and would likely cost 10x as much.
The Rossoneri must continue to look for the future without developing a dangerous oversight that would see them miss out on bargains like this. The player is happy, the fans are happy with him and it makes total sense to keep Kjaer around.