GdS: Dynamism, intensity and physicality – how Pioli’s dream midfield would function

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have had to rebuild their midfield after the sale of Sandro Tonali to Newcastle United and they have wasted very little time.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan have wrapped up the signings of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders while they are pushing for Yunus Musah of Valencia, because Stefano Pioli preparing to turn to a 4-3-3 formation.

The aim is for Milan to have ‘dynamism and verticality’ thanks to signings that can guarantee ‘intensity and the coverage of more metres on the field than in the past’. The Rossoneri will change in quality, characteristics and style.

With Loftus-Cheek, Reijnders and maybe Musah, Pioli would have a completely different arsenal compared to what he has had before, but how exactly would they function?

Starting with the former Chelsea man, his main asset is physical power and he can cover several roles within the midfield, but in his first press conference for the club he clarified that he wants to play as a box-to-box player in a 4-3-3.

Reijnders will instead be in the centre of the field, and he was wanted by Pioli to give the team a new approach. The Dutchman will be the Rossoneri’s ‘point guard’, but he will play the role with greater aggression and all his skills.

Furthermore, the former AZ Alkmaar star should bring some attacking production too, having scored seven times in the last season, along with amassing 12 assists.

Reijnders dominated in the Eredivisie above all because of his ability in possession and management of the ball under pressure, acting as an atypical balancer.

The element that should complete the middle trio is Musah, another target for whom Giorgio Furlani and Geoffrey Moncada are pushing in these hours.

The USA international at Valencia has a less imposing tonnage than Loftus-Cheek, but he is a battling player and he can bring both running and dynamism.

Ismael Bennacer will return after injury and should slot straight into the ideas that Pioli has, while Tommaso Pobega and Rade Krunic will also have to show their best with both considered versatile options for the midfield.

Tags AC Milan Ruben Loftus-Cheek Tijjani Reijnders Yunus Musah


    1. Musah is better than Kessie by far,
      Reijnders is better than Bennacer in my opinion (at least on the offense side),
      RLC, well, probably the worse of all the names mentioned.

        1. I agree with him that Musah is better than Kessie because he can actually play football, you know short pass, long pass, dribble, something Kessie can’t do. Kessie was tripping over the ball when he was 20. So this guy can learn and be great. Other signings, I think they are just bad IMO. But hopefully I am proven wrong.

      1. Better than Kessie? Lol u lost me there
        I.mean his first season at Barca wasn’t great but I know Kessie to be top 5 CDM when he was with us. Musah, haven’t heard about him until our interest in him

        1. He almost still trips over the ball. Close to that. Any player that can be good defensively and can send a long ball, maybe dribble and similar stuff is better. Never was in top 5, that is wishful thinking.

          1. Really now? We’ll have to agree to disagree there Martin. Kessie is an underrated ball carrier imo. And positionally one of the best in terms of defence.
            He’s saying Musah is far better than Kessie, do u agree with that?

    2. Practically this 3 replacing Tonali, Bakayoko, Vranckx not kessie and tonali, they only lose Tonali, kessie is Maldini problem who he failed to find the replacement

    3. Stop acting like Tonali is some great midfielder he’s not. Musah at 20 is already better. Our midfield was the weak point of the team last season. We are much improved now, and Bennacer will be back too. Well done Cardinale.

      1. No, they paid over 70M for him because he is bad. Makes sense. Good thing you didn’t tell them before they got him for that money. 😂😂😂

        1. They are stupid Premier League team with unlimited oil money to waste who bought in to the hype of Tonali who was way overrated by the Italian media because he was Italian and a boyhood fan of Milan. They will find out soon enough. If Tonali is so great why was our midfield getting bossed by even the bottom table teams last season?

          1. Yeah, sure. Clubs are buying players by media hype. They scout players on portals and the one that has the biggest hype is bought. What? 😂😂😂😂😂

        1. I did. It was nothing special. It was what he is. Ok. Mediocre. Doesn’t create anything going forward. A couple of unnecessary fouls. When Tonali is at his best he is a good player nothing more. I guarantee you Milan’s midfield will not get bossed this season like they did last season. That’s the entire reason Milan sold him You think they wanted to sell a popular Italian player? No. They needed to improve the midfield, Newcastle was offering way more than he is worth, it was a no brained. Now we have a much stronger and deeper midfield.( if they get Musah).

          1. It would be hard for the midfield to be worse Martin. Getting bossed by the likes of Udinese, Torino and even Cremonese. If they don’t finish better than 5th in Serie A , which is where they actually finished this season I will never post here again. Guaranteed.

          2. This is how I know you didn’t watch the game because Tonali had the hockey assist on the first goal lol 😂 “doesn’t create anything” but was involved in the link up play on Almiron’s goal LMAO. Holy crap. Most sites rated him as one of the best on the field and a couple had MOTM. Lol but sure he did nothing. Now if u told me he failed to track and come back to defend on a few occasions when rangers were attacking sure I can give u that and also say u watched the game. It’s the same problem he had here but still fixable. Btw which position did he play in the game? 😂. Kk I’m teasing now

            Milan sold Tonali because they thought they thought they can replace what he brings with two or more other players hopefully both from a technical as well as commercial aspect. It’s very simple. A calculated risk but a gamble nonetheless.

            Btw I didn’t say anything about Musah, I was talking about RLC. Relative to RLC come on bro stats not even close especially offensively(to Tonali). Musah is obviously more defensive minded than him though. Tonali isn’t supposed to be a defensive mid, he’s box to box but more offense minded. His stats are clear there so I’ll cede the muscle point

        2. I did. It was nothing special. Just like Tonali. He’s a good player at best, nothing more. It’s not just RLC, it’s also Reijnders and hopefully Musah which is a greatly improved midfield.

          1. How do you know it is an upgrade? Are you all people stupid, honestly? 3 players that never were in Serie A, playing together for the first time.

          2. Ok Martin. Because Serie A is so special and superior to everywhere else, right? Musah is 20 and already playing in La Liga and for his country in the World Cup where he did quite well. I think he can handle Serie A. Most Premier League players do better when they come to Serie A like Tomori and Giroud, so I think Pulisic and RLC will do just fine. Just say what your real problem is… they are not Italian, right?

    4. Kessie failed 3 season with 3 coach : montella , gattuso giampaolo. He failed if coach use 433 or 4312 formation , he is only good after pioli use 4231. Even bakayoko are better than kessie when gattuso as coach . Yunus are good on 433 and 4231 , his playstyle are similar with kante when play in USA national team , he is still 20 years and have room to growth

  1. None of the 3 midfields is a n4. Reijnders can play there of course, but is offensive contribution would be a bit wasted. Ideal role for him would be on the left side of 3 midfields, with a more classic difensive mid as n4. I do not see Musah as the right addition to our midfield as he looks another ball carrier to me and his ideal role is not n4. Torreira is going to Lazio for peanuts and it would have been perfect. Dominguez or Wieffer would be also better fit than Musah.

  2. Don’t know what Pioli’s cooking in his head but these three are all box to box mids, so I’m quite anxious to see how this will work. However I don’t see these three as a step up in quality or improvement from Tonali, Bennacer, Kessie. Anyway I’m mostly keeping my eye on Musah as he seems most interesting.

    1. Well, even though I still believe we will sign a proper DM, as the only DMs we seem to have now are Krunic, Pobega.

      Even though Reijnders can play as DM I think we may not rely on him physically for that position, and also there’s RLC too who can also play as a DM.

      But to speak on the main issue though, I remember PSG playing with Vidal, Matuidi and Veratti in midfield, all box-to-box midfielders.
      If Musah can play like Vidal, Reijnders like Veratti and RLC like Matuidi, then we will have a real midfield to handle.

      All box-to-box midfielders with different styles of play.

      But, I still think we will sign a DM, but if not, we may still be good to go.

        1. Please don’t do this, just for illustration sake.
          And you are correct, we don’t have a midfielder the quality of Veratti.

  3. I like how some people are trying to sneak Kessie in, along with Tonali and Bennacer, when comparing them with Reijnders, RLC and potentially Musah.
    Why don’t you add Hakan while you are at it.
    RLC, Reijnders and Musah would be an improvement over the midfield we had last season.
    Kessie wasn’t on the team last season.
    Plus Bennacer is still on the team.
    The midfield has gained on quality and quantity.

      1. We only lost Tonali. The players that they brought in got qualities that Tonali didn’t have.
        I like Tonali, but his best quality was that he is a Milan fan.
        As a player he is nothing special, but most of you act like we lost prime Pirlo or Seedorf in the midfield.
        Based on quality, not emotion, Kessie was a much bigger loss than Tonali.
        Our midfield was getting destroyed on a regular last season.

        1. They never played in Italy, so you don’t know how it will work. Nobody knows. Saying our midfield has much more quality is like saying 2030. will be the best year in the history of the planet. How the f would you know? Always the same idiocy. You can think something, but until they play it is all horsesh…

        2. And Kessie can’t play football. What is the fee he is being sold for now? Let me know please, how much are they offering for the top player he is?

          1. Much more quality than last year.
            Tonali by himself is not better than 3 players. Question is if he is better than any of them individually.
            We missed Kessie. That’s not a prediction, that happened. Did you watch our midfield with the great Tonali and Bennacer last year. Bossed around by almost every other midfield in the league. Our midfield got better when Pioli inserted Krunic in there.
            Oh yeah let’s judge players based on how much they were sold for. It’s not like there are bunch of players in epl that were bought for a lot of money and they were a waste. ManUtd has at least a handful of those.
            Havertz in 3 years got sold for a combined 160 mil and he is not much better than CDK.
            Kessie picked the wrong club that doesn’t suit his game, but he was more important for Milan’s game than Tonali and Bennacer. It was proven last season. No need to guess. Our midfield with Kessie in it was our strongest department, without Kessie it became our weakest.
            Kessie can’t play football?
            Its more like @Martin doesn’t understand football.

          2. Regarding Kessie.

            If anything Gattuso thought us that you mustn’t be good technically to be a good midfielder as what he lacked technically, he more than made up for it with his tenacity, work rate and the will to play any role for his team. If you want a more polished and technical version of a player like Kessie, just have a look at Arturo Vidal: box to box, can play in defensive and offensive setups, capable of occupying every position in the middle of the park, heart of a lion and tackles like his life was depended on it.

            So while the other players are displaying their skills, Kessie’s job is to break opposition play, if anyone says Kessie can’t play football will not argue that he’s a good team player and that makes him a good footballer.

            Hell, Kessie can play football.

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