GdS: ‘Which Devil is stronger?’ – Pioli called upon to innovate with new-look midfield

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s summer transfer window has been on fire so far with the sale of Sandro Tonali followed up by four signings and another one to come.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) ask the following question: “Which devil is stronger?” They are referring to the contrast between how Milan might line up next season compared to their first choice XI from last season.

Geoffrey Moncada and Giorgio Furlani have begun rebuilding the midfield after Tonali’s exit with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders done deals, and it is expected that Yunus Musah might join them.

Milan have changed their strategy as they decided to sacrifice Tonali and his future as the Rossoneri’s backbone to sign more players and improve the squad, cashing in €80m and choosing to move it into various different positions.

Milan suffered from a lack of physicality in the Champions League semi-finals against Inter and that is another reason that there was the desire to reconstruct the midfield, with a potential system change from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3.

Reijnders is seen as a player who knows how to do everything: press and recover, defend and organise, assists, and score. However, he has only played in the Dutch league, has not set foot in the Champions League and and is a recent international.

Ismael Bennacer meanwhile is sidelined with injury and will reappear on the scene at the end of the year, so Reijnders’ adaptation to the new world will define the new Milan for better or for worse.

Loftus-Cheek will add to the size given that he is 1.91m high while Musah covers a lot of ground and has a battling size, with both having a knack for ball progression as box-to-box players.

Pioli, in his fifth season with Milan, is called to innovate. Will Milan be stronger? It depends on if Reijnders means Tonali isn’t missed too much and if Furlani buys a centre-forward to help Olivier Giroud.

The attack will increase its depth with Christian Pulisic, who should be more useful than Brahim Diaz who was penalised often by his small physique, but another No.9 is necessary.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Whilst I think Pulisic is an upgrade on Diaz on paper, in practice we need to see how often he’s fit and how well he can press (he was excellent at Dortmund). One overlooked thing about Diaz, apart was that he was seemingly always fit and whilst his firm and output varied, his availability didn’t.

    1. I think Pioli makes dubious choices sometimes. Diaz was better when playing RW but for some reason Pioli usually asked him to play AM. Real Madrid reportedly wants him to play RW. It’s the same with Leao who was invisible when we played with three defenders, everybody could see it but it took some time for Pioli to put him back as a LW.

      1. He is kind of slow when changing needs to be done. It took him a lot of time to make Tomori regular instead of Romagnoli when everyone saw that the former was better. Thiaw was only used in the second half of the season despite showing good things from the get go. I do like Pioli as a coach, but he needs to change this aspect of his coaching

    2. Same thing with Tonali and RLC. Tonali was available always, played most minutes and RLC…That is why I don’t really like the transfer window. Average and/or injury prone players. The only really good signing is Musah (and the free signings are ok).

      1. Average players? And the ones they are replacing were world-class superstars? 😀 😀 😀

        For sure Milan’s midfield will be superior and stronger.

  2. Yeah, Reijnders is better than Yaya Toure on his best days. At least from the article. 😂 He can do everything. What a bunch of bs. Can’t wait to see this world class player in a month, against Bologna. It is a win with him there.

  3. I still believe Milan will play 4231 but against teams that play 352 or low block teams Pioli will use 433 which makes sense.

    The fact that Milan Pulisic and still looking to sign Chukwueze or Gustav Isaksen is a clear sign that we will still use 4231.

    A team cannot be one dimensional or too rigid in the formation. Man City often uses a variation depending on the opponent unlike Liverpool which was their downfall from grace.

    Klopp 433 got found out. Milan and Pioli are on the right track and I am confident we will be more competitive and challenge for the scudetto this season if we sign a striker and Chukwueze.

    1. 4231 with

      Seria 23/24 is ours then.

  4. With 433 (altho I still have some doubt about Pioli changing the formation right from the start), the RW will be the main stay post for Pulisic. So no need for another ‘expensive’ RW such as Chuk. Move the budget for a decent Striker.

  5. 🦌 is not a Tonali replacement. More like a Bennacer replacement it seems imo. I’ll hv to check out more games on him
    I’m pretty sure we’re playing 4231 but I’ll wait for the first preseason game to see what Pioli has in mind.

  6. Looking back it kinda seems they jumped the gun on Ruben ‘cuz of the pressure from Tonali sale.. I just dont see how he fits in all of this. And the noneu spot makes it even worse

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