Now that we are almost two months into the 20-2021 season, it is a good time to look back and evaluate the early performances of AC Milan’s summer signings.
Milan had a productive window over the summer, bringing in a number of talented young players such as Sandro Tonali, Jens Petter Hauge, Brahim Diaz and Diogo Dalot.
In his debut feature for the site, Carl Camilleri takes a look at how each one has performed so far.The rating given to each player is based on the player’s performance in comparison to the expectations at the time of signing…
Kalulu was arguably the most obscure signing for the senior squad, with no appearances in the Serie A and Europa League so far for the 20-year-old right back from Lyon.
Kalulu has only featured in pre-season friendlies and the loan signing of Dalot near the end of the transfer window could be a sign that the French defender is not yet ready to contend for the starting role. A possible loan experience in January could be beneficial for his development.
Despite his previous positive experience as Fiorentina’s starting goalkeeper between 2014 and 2017, it is safe to say that the signing of the Romania international was primarily for economic purposes to reduce the club’s wage budget.
Tătărușanu has so far featured in two games due to Gianluigi Donnarumma’s positivity to COVID-19 and unfortunately he did not leave a good first impression with the fans mainly due to the error that led to Roma’s first goal scored by Džeko.
In his second game against Sparta Prague, Tătărușanu had a more positive performance which can also be attributed to the lack of attacking threat shown by the opposing team who were only able to get one shot on target.
From what we have seen so far, in the absence of Gianluigi Donnarumma the new reserve goalkeeper will have to do much more to ease the minds of the club supporters.
Jens Petter Hauge
Arguably one of the most interesting transfer stories of recent years having signed with the club after doing his best to hand us an early exit from the Europa League.
The 21-year old Norwegian winger joined the team from in-form FK Bodø/Glimt who are on the verge of winning the Eliteserien league in Norway and has clearly done enough for coach Stefano Pioli who has given the winger four substitute appearances between Serie A and Europa League.
During this period Hauge got his first call-up and debut for the Norwegian national team and also netted his first goal in the dying minutes of the Celtic-Milan clash in the Europa League to cement his positive transition to Italy, assuring the club that they made a good decision on the €6million bargain prospect.
Jens Petter Hauge – @jenspetter99
🇳🇴 Welcome to AC Milan 🔴⚫️
— ACM Comps (@CompsACM) September 29, 2020
‘The Prodigal Son’ and ‘The New Maestro’ are among the dozens of nicknames that can be used to emphasise the expectations that were laid upon the 20-year-old Italian. At this point in his Milan career it is safe to say that expectations have been dialled down a touch, but that definitely does not mean that Tonali is no longer one of Italy’s brightest prospects.
For the first time in 8 years, AC Milan has a solid central midfield pairing consisting of Franck Kessié and Ismaël Bennacer who have played a vital role in Milan’s success in the early part of this season.
This therefore has left little space for Tonali in the first team and put more pressure on him to perform, considering that throughout his career his path to the first team for Brescia was quite straightforward.
That being said, Tonali’s first team performances in the Europa League have been rather mixed. Tonali struggled in his first half performance against Celtic but rebounded in the second half, he then went on to have a very positive performance against Sparta Praha but had an abysmal performance against Lille where he struggled significantly to contain Renato Sanches.
At this point in time, Tonali would be better suited in midfield with Bennacer who would focus more on the offensive role while allowing Tonali more time to focus defensively as they showed chemistry in the game against Sparta Praha.
In summary, while Tonali’s start may not have met the expectations of most supporters, he has still shown that he can develop to become a very important aspect of this young Milan team.
Arguably the most impactful signing of the summer transfer window, and he’s only here on loan. Similarly to all the other summer signings, Brahim Diaz has a substitute role in this Milan squad in the league while starting in all three UEFA Europa League matches.
Despite the limited playing time allowed to him, Diaz has already scored three goals and provided a crucial last minute assist to Ibrahimovic against Verona.
Despite his lack of physical attributes, Diaz has been able to make an impact in the side through his technique, creativity and movement. The only issue with regards to this signing is that there is no option to buy and a series of positive performances could result in Real Madrid setting a higher asking price or decide to keep him for their first team.
For Maldini this has to be a ‘must buy’ especially if Calhanoglu does not renew his contract.
This fullback has been on my radar ever since I decided to start a Football Manager 2016 save with Porto. Since then his career has been rather inconsistent and the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka for Manchester United has left him out of the first team for the majority of last season.
That being said, Dalot can become a perfect option for Stefano Pioli who has always expressed his admiration for players with the ability to play different roles. So far, the Portuguese has played four games for AC Milan starting all three Europa League games and entering as a substitute during Udinese-Milan.
Whilst I have a great admiration for the Portuguese defender’s ability, I still believe that from a defensive aspect his performances have not yet been up to par. Despite this, from an offensive perspective he has contributed well scoring one goal and providing one assist against Sparta Praha.
This may not be a cause for concern as Theo Hernandez had the same issue earlier on last season. In summary Maldini should definitely look into purchasing this player as he has significant potential to grow.