GdS: Simic ready to answer Pioli’s call and build on impressive preseason

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s defensive crisis has deepened to the extent that Stefano Pioli has had to call for extra resources from the Primavera, more specifically the profile of Jan-Carlo Simic.

Who is Simic? Well, as La Gazzetta dello Sport write the most attentive Milan fans learned to know his name in the summer when he was taken on the tour of the USA with the senior team for preseason, even making a start against Real Madrid.

He and his Primavera team-mates Lapo Nava, Kevin Zeroli and Davide Bartesaghi were taken on the trip and the latter then joined the first team on a permanent basis, while Simic was released to play under Ignazio Abate’s orders again.

Now the Serbian is back like a yo-yo and what impressed those watching was his match against Real Madrid, a friendly played from the first minute and above all without warning given Matteo Gabbia should have played but was removed at the last minute due to advanced negotiations with Villarreal.

Simic responded with a solid and attentive match, proving decisive on more than a few occasions like the block inside the block on Militao. He did well in the next outing against Juventus too, often limiting Milik when called upon.

In short, if he has any opportunities in the next few matches it will be based on the trust that he began to sew during the preseason and of course the growth path that he is experiencing with Abate.

Born in 2005, Simic was born in Germany to a Bosnian father and a Serbian mother. Milan had decided to try sign him for the Primavera just over a year ago, eventually landing him from Stuttgart for €250k.

He is a very physical central defender (1.86m tall), is attentive, with a good sense of anticipation and he usually plays on the centre-right. Even in the past he has been used to battling with older teams (he stood out with the U19 team of the German club) and had made a good impression in the 2022 U17 European Championship, reaching the semi-finals with Serbia.

His first season in Italy didn’t go bad at all either, given that a few months ago the Primavera achieved the historic target of the Youth League semi-finals for the first time. This year, at least so far, things are going even better.

In Abate’s team, first in the league together with Inter – but also at the top of the European group with PSG and Borussia Dortmund – Simic is irreplaceable. So far he has played all 11 matches for the Rossoneri and has remained (almost) always on the pitch from the first to the 90th minute.

He was only replaced in the second 45 minutes against Newcastle, while against Bologna in the second game of the season he even managed to get a goal and an assist. In short, not a bad business card so far.

Scrolling through the posts he has published on Instagram, the one after the first defeat of the season against PSG sticks out, with the caption: “Disappointing defeat with many lessons learned. Still proud of the team spirit we showed.”

These lessons learned will stand him in good stead and now he will shadow Fikayo Tomori and the rest of the defenders while waiting for a potential call.

Tags AC Milan Jan-Carlo Simic


  1. Pioli should allow him to start in some smaller games, test him against easy opponents and also come in as a sub later in the game.
    He shouldn’t do the same mistake he did with Pellegrino and only use him when there is no other options.

  2. There are no easy games, and we can’t keep gambling with them. The last game showed that. Even the first team players are struggling to cope. It would be good to see them play, but, can’t really make out in which game, except for forced injuries.

  3. You don’t start these players, you introduce them to the team. get them valuable minutes. You can’t go on thinking you don’t want to risk players because they are not up to it, too young whatever. The way to make a squad gel is to make them all feel valuable. Kids aged 16+ are making a mark at a high level for big teams. Don’t be afraid to play them, ever…

    1. I understand the argument but I think starting, even if just for the first 45 min (to be subbed at half time) is a better approach, particularly for a CB. It’s different up front or on a wing, for example, where the player can just bang around without really being able to negatively impact the result. If things are going well you then get the option to push to 60min.

      It allows the player to settle with the rhythm of the game. There is time to overcome mistakes and there is not the pressure to chase or to defend a result in a tense final phase of a game. It also takes coach choice out of the equation to guarantee the minutes. I’m not going to hold it against Pioli if he doesn’t want to bring an 18yo CB on for a tense final phase of a game. He’s under more pressure than anyone else in all of this.

      It’s a very hard approach to justify when limited to 3 substitutes but with 5, it is pretty rare the the 5th sub isn’t a vanity sub anyway, I think there is room for a preemite ‘player development substitution’.

      Start with Udinese. They’re not going to put the CBs under too much pressure as they haven’t been able to connect midfield and attack all season.

  4. Takes an injuries for our primavera players to see minutes with the senior team… One of Pioli’s irritable traits. Would love to see this kid get more opportunities with the senior team.

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