GdS: From Giroud to Bennacer – Roma game a possible ‘last dance’ for several Milan players

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are obviously not planning on the second leg against Roma being their final European game of the season, but it must still be on the minds of some players that this is their last shot at a trophy with the club.

This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport has a section titled: ‘The last dance for whom? Giroud bids farewell, Jovic almost. Adli and Bennacer: one will go’. The paper are talking about the possible exits in the summer for Milan.

For Stefano Pioli there is no need for a crystal ball: between tonight and Monday his fate will be clearer. Among the players there are those who already know their path and those who will find it in the next matches.

Olivier Giroud seems destined to head for Los Angeles FC, Luka Jovic is a crossroads, for Pierre Kalulu, Ismael Bennacer and Yacine Adli everything is still open. Mike Maignan and Theo Hernandez will not leave Milan unless crazy offers come in, but they cannot be ruled out.

A final swansong?

Giroud does not want the Olimpico to be the theatre of his last dance. In the summer of 2021 he arrived as a simple back-up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and then went on to be the protagonist in the Scudetto season and beyond.

He hopes for a grand finale because in the summer, at the end of his contract, he will leave Milan. The Frenchman became ‘Mr. Derby’ after the brace that started the title charge. In two other derbies, the one tonight and the league one on Monday, he wants to close the circle.

Simon Kjaer’s deal will also expire and will not be renewed. Ibrahimovic’s arrival overshadowed his in January 2020 after the five goals conceded by Atalanta in what was a low point under Pioli.

Kjaer helped pull up the wall again but now it’s time to say goodbye. The Dane would also like a more celebratory outing than last time: as soon as Sassuolo conceded the third goal, he headed for the dressing room due to an injury that will prevent him from being there again tonight.

At a crossroads

The deadline on the contract, June 2024, is the same for Luka Jovic. Milan have the possibility of renewing him for another season, but why should they do it?

Jovic was a reliable reserve scorer in the middle (not so much in the first part of the season, but very much so in the second), and it is the last few games of the season that will be decisive.

Giroud cannot hold off fatigue of the last stretch of the season alone season and Jovic must be ready to take the baton. At the Olimpico he will start from the bench, then who knows.

The Serbian will have his chances and he has the obligation to exploit them. From Samuel Chukwueze and Noah Okafor, Milan expect their second season to be the one where they kick on.

Defence and midfield

Fikayo Tomori will have to withstand the impact of Lukaku and Dybala, then Lautaro and Thuram. These are exams that will give a definitive grade to his year but in all likelihood he will be promoted to being the main pillar for the defence of the future. The same applies to the other big names: the club will only evaluate colossal offers.

Malick Thiaw is expected to start on the bench tonight ​​due to a tactical choice and this speaks volumes. It’s not a failure, but the German must find consistency again. Neither he nor Pierre Kalulu (injured) are at their last dance, but the end of the season is important because a defence that has conceded 48 goals this season must inevitably be restructured.

Some renovation work – the club talks about evolution, not revolution – will also take place in midfield. Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are fixed points, but Ismael Bennacer is still looking for consistency too and time is running out to find it. Furthermore, today he will start from the bench.

As specified by the CEO Giorgio Furlani, Milan do not need to sell but an offer of €30m for the Algerian could however be useful in increasing the summer budget. This can be rounded off with the sale of Yacine Adli: he was effective after months of anonymity, but Milan need more certainty.


Tags AC Milan Luka Jovic Olivier Giroud Simon Kjaer

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