GdS: ‘Devils on the rise’ – the new pillars that Milan will build the squad around

By Oliver Fisher -

While a lot of the talk surrounding AC Milan heading into next season is about the new faces that might arrive, there are some pillars of the project that the management hope will grow.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) write this morning, Ronald Koeman – someone who knows a lot about talent – made it clear what he thinks about Tijjani Reijnders after the Netherlands’ win on Friday.

“Reijnders has become a great player in a very short time. He cannot be left out,” he said. The coach certified what they see at Milan every day: Reijnders has grown because he has quality and because Stefano Pioli trusted him from the start.

Showing faith

The Milan boss experienced some difficult days a few months ago amid constant criticism and examinations, but he has always counted on his bond with the group and also thanks to his loyalists he is strengthening his position.

It is not just Theo Hernandez, Oliver Giroud, Rafael Leao and the Scudetto protagonists, because the group of players that Pioli has the utmost faith in is growing and Reijnders is in the front row.

Pioli immediately put him at the centre of the project, he pushed to sign him when the negotiations with AZ Alkmaar were proving to be tough, and he entrusted him with a place in the midfield in almost all the matches.

Now he is reaping the benefits, because  Reijnders is indispensable for today’s Milan and tomorrow’s as well, even more so if Pioli is still the head coach.


The Dutchman is not the only one either. Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek stand out among the 2023 summer signings given the numbers that they have put up so far and the fact they arrived after falling by the wayside at Chelsea.

Pulisic arrived at Milanello with an idea in mind: “He was convinced that he would perform better on the left, but there he always wants the ball on his left, whereas on the right he goes deep and I like that.”

It was Pioli who revealed the back story above, and now enjoying the best version of the American. With 12 goals Pulisic has already surpassed his single-season scoring record and Milan have finally found goals and creativity also on the flank opposite to that of Leao.

The opposite happened with Loftus-Cheek: Pioli started by playing him as a mezzala in a 4-3-3, then switched to 4-2-3-1 to enhance the Englishman’s attacking tendencies. Since then, RLC has turned a corner and he is on nine goals, meaning Milan have discovered an added centre-forward.

With Pioli, Loftus-Cheek worked on headers and the results are impressive: four of the last five goals have come this way. It is an example of how the coach picks up on things to get the best out of his players.

There are also those who seemed to have been cut off from the project. Yacine Adli was on the fringes of the plans, but when Pioli proposed that he move back from the attacking midfield to regista, he jumped at the chance. Now he is the first choice in front of the defence.

Noah Okafor didn’t like being a striker either yet that’s how he has scored all of his goals. There is room for him in the club of loyalists too.


Tags AC Milan Christian Pulisic Ruben Loftus-Cheek Tijjani Reijnders Yacine Adli


  1. I agree with most of the above mentioned topics. Building the team moving forward with the likes of Loftus-Cheek ,Reijnders,Pulisic,Okafor,etc. but, totally disagree with Adli !! To help reinforce our defense we need a much STRONGER and AGRESSIVE defensive Midfielder

  2. At this time Adli seems like the ideal squad player. Loves the shirt, works hard, facilitates relationships between teammates etc.

    I hope we get a DM too. But I also hope we have room for Adli.

    1. Adli is a feel good story. He is inconsistent on the pitch though and so far we haven’t seen him in an “ideal” position.

      He doesn’t seem like a solid enough of a DM.

      1. He is still developping though, he is still young, barely played last season and prior to that was used mostly as an attacking midfielder. I’m curious to see how he will perform under a different coach and a different system.
        But even with that, I think we definetly need a defensive midfielder who is good at….defending.
        Perhaps we can somehow turn Musah into the new Kessie, but the idea seems a bit far fetched to me.

  3. Totally Agree with you, he is a great team player but, if we are to take the next step forward changes may be necessary.

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