Longoni: Two signings needed to fix issues that emerged in preseason for Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan might have excited the fans with eight signings that freshen up a squad that was stretched last season, but there are still a few question marks.

Milan’s preseason form has concerned some as the only victories after 90 minutes came against Lumezzane, ES Sahel and Novara in the three games that were played at Milanello, but aside from that there was the penalty shootout victory over Monza.

The same old issues have emerged regarding defensive mistakes which plagued Stefano Pioli’s rearguard last season, and there also seems to be an issue when it comes to fashioning goals from open play.

The Rossoneri lost against Real Madrid and Barcelona during their tour of the USA, while they drew 2-2 against Juventus after leading twice and then lost on penalties.

Journalist Andrea Longoni spoke in a column for MilanNews and he wanted to highlight some of the difficulties that Milan must resolve if they are to have a more positive season domestically.

“Eight days until the start of the Milan season: time is now very short to improve mechanisms and give the team the right balance,” he began.

“It was a decidedly not exciting pre-season, which, mind you, does not mean that the season that is about to begin will be disappointing.

“We remember great summer performances in the past, appetizers of very negative years, as well as worrying summer friendlies, which then led to winning seasons.

“However, it is right to analyze the problems that have emerged. Mainly two: too many goals conceded and few scored. Seen like this, it’s not a small thing.

“More is expected from the defence, also because we have noticed so many gross mistakes on an individual level. The famous last 11 games of the year for the Scudetto with just 2 goals conceded seem like a distant memory.

“It is clear that if we talk about the defensive phase, the contribution of the midfield is also fundamental. And here the first problem at a structural level seems to emerge: many mezzala-type players and no one who can play in the middle.

“Not even Krunic: who in the role is adapted and with very mediocre performances. Pioli’s ‘fixation’ on the Bosnian causes discussion.

“If on the one hand the former Empoli man today, without Tonali and with Bennacer KO, represents historical memory in the middle of the field, on the other one cannot think of building a team around him. You need a natural interpreter of the position: there’s no escaping from here.

“Unless you go back to the old 4-2-3-1, with Reijnders and Musah further back and Loftus-Cheek high pivot (or Pulisic in simpler games).

“Then the usual difficulty in scoring: only one goal from open play (Romero’s against Real Madrid) is indicative of a problem that has remained.

“From this point of view, however, perhaps the solution is already at home: in fact Chukwueze and Okafor have almost never been used in top-level summer competitions. Their contribution will be fundamental in the implementation phase.

“Assists from the transfer window, in any case, would be a good and right thing. Giroud will blow out 37 candles in September and already last year he lived with physical problems that unfortunately he will hardly erase.

“The Swiss ex Salzburg can play as a 9, but here too we would need not an adapted but a pure centre-forward. With a central midfielder and forward, the team would become complete from every point of view.”

Tags AC Milan


  1. Pre-seasons can’t be used to judge what is coming, as Longoni has said. But yea, we do need some signings. A DM and CB is a must I think. Dominguez+Toloi.

    I guess I’m Toloi’s biggest fan on here lol. But we’ve never been linked to him. His contract expires in a year tho lol.

  2. Simple Explanation: Kessie was never replaced and he masked a lot of defensive insufficiencies. We still don’t have a replacement for him. And as it is pointed out – Krunic ain’t it. Dominguez maybe?

    1. 100 % true, but pioli seem didn’t see this, on his position now he could ask to the management to buy a dm if he want, of course financial issue must be adress but why he approve so many winger but cant ask a single dm if he trully need it, let see until mercato close then.

      1. Or,No club in Europe was giving him 20 mil a year salary.
        I guess by that logic no club in Europe wanted Koulibaly, Mane, SMS, Seko Fofana, Brozovic, Mahrez,Kante, Benzema, Firmino, Mendy etc. Everyone of those players with the exception of Mendy walks into Milan’s starting 11. Mahrez would be the best player in serie A.
        Kessie was very good at Milan for the way Milan played.

        1. yeah 26 year old and bailed Europe and you are defending him

          He was ‘very good’ but he was always ‘very bad’ in plenty of games, you people for some reason only want to remember the good and never the bad

          There is a reason he failed in Barca

          1. OK, please tell me how Milan midfield looked without the vary bad Kessie last season.
            He failed at Barca because he isn’t fit for their system. He isn’t a skilled player, but he was perfect for Milan’s system.

          2. On that note I do agree. Kessie hasn’t been good for at least two-three years. His last year at Milan wasn’t smashing.

      2. LOL. Nobody wanted Kessie in Europe? More like nobody would pay him 20M season. He went for the $$ that’s fine. Had he asked for his original salary he would have signed with an EPL team. Kessie was poor his last season?? LOLOLO. Just won a Scudetto and he was instrumental playing both DM and as a CAM when needed. Just because you make up facts doesn’t mean they are true gents.

    2. With the changing formation and tactics, these are examples of the players who play this role currently in the league:
      Lobotka, Cataldi (now Rovella), Lopez

      Compared to them, the players who have similar stats:
      Samuele Ricci, Tijjani Reijnders, Marko Grujić, Fran, Beltrán, De Roon
      Many other players…

  3. Not even Krunic: who in the role is adapted and with very mediocre performances. Pioli’s ‘fixation’ on the Bosnian causes discussion.

    Said before, and i will say it again

    Krunic is not a dm.
    He was forced to play there when milan experienced injury crisis in midfield.
    Thus he’s never comfortable played as a dm, although if I’m being honest, he never shine in any role he’s played.
    Krunic more than often make silly mistakes in front of our own defense with his bad passes or bad positioning (same can be said about tomori too)

    Whenever i see krunic, i always remember the fifa game commentary:

    “Losing the ball under no real pressure”

    1. I know pigeonholing players is great for driving more transfers as you then have to sign 2 (maybe even 3 perfectly formed players for everyone position which creates such fun on the transfer market….

      And I also know what actually happened is rarely as important as what is in each of our heads….


      Last season Krunic played a crucial role in getting us through the round of 16 and quarter finals of the champions league (no less) and contributed to us only conceding 1 goal in those four games.

      Cue people expressing utter bewilderment when I point out what actually happened in real life a few short months ago, or trying to downplay their own clubs achievements because it doesn’t fit with the narrative in their heads.

      1. It’s a shame you came back from vacation lol. You still have absolutely nothing intelligent to say.

        Krunic is mediocrity, and you’re willing to accept mediocrity. Also I remember Krunic getting steamrolled in the semi-finals, but it’s bewildering you completely forget about that.

    2. Damn, u know ball
      I think without midfield reinforcements – of a dm or deep playmaker
      Mr pioli should go back to the 3-4-3 of last season (Add 1 CB and keep simic)

      Leao- okafor-chukwu

      theo- musah- RLC- Salad

      Thiaw- Tomori- Kalulu

    3. “Krunic more than often make silly mistakes in front of our own defense with his bad passes or bad positioning (same can be said about tomori too)

      Whenever i see krunic, i always remember the fifa game commentary:

      “Losing the ball under no real pressure” ”

      It’s so weird when I see ppl write about Krunic. I think you’re just frustrated at how he plays rather than what he actually does. Because I’ve said before if you think his passing is bad then his stats don’t say that..he has the best passing percentage of our mids last year. Silly mistakes in front of defence? He has zero errors leading to attacking shooting situations, can’t say the same for our other mids. He’s 92 percentile in miscontrols (meaning hes better than 92% of players in Europe when it comes to not miscontrolling the ball) and also the best in our team of mids for this stat and 70+ percentile in dispossession which is very very good…also the best in the team last year and also among all of the new signings this year.

      The only one is bad positioning that there isnt a stat for but I’ve seen him bail out teammates countless times. Maybe he doesn’t bring the ball upfield is where the perception is misplaced.
      I don’t think he should be a starter but come on guys. Don’t be making it out to seem like he’s useless. His stats are great for a role player, you want an assured sub..he’s that guy

  4. “Not even Krunic: who in the role is adapted and with very mediocre performances. Pioli’s ‘fixation’ on the Bosnian causes discussion.”

    Uh oh, some people are gunna flip out! “Noooo you’re not a fan, must not question Pioli!”

  5. Yeah, OK, Toloi, who is a starter for Atalanta and as of late for the NT will come to Milan to be the 5th choice CB.
    Why would he do that?

  6. They should sign CB LB RB and CDM and in January window A ST. So My Picks are Maxime Esteve Barteseghi or Adrien Truffert Wilfred Singo Nicolas Dominguez and Arthur Vermeeren. In January window Santiago Gimenez Or Sign on loan with option to Buy for Jonathan David or Sign Gift Emmanuel Orban Or Elye Wahi

  7. Or Players from the league so the deals should be fast then Diego Coppola or Try loan with option to Buy for Giorgio Scalvini Wilfred Singo Nicolas Dominguez and promote Barteseghi

  8. Some expert here said pre-season doesn’t count, I guess who ever wrote this article must be a quack 😂😂. The problem is the coach, who has no tactics, cannot adapt players and has no clue what to do.

        1. Last year, Dominguez played:
          CM – 25 games
          AM – 5 games
          LW – 2 games
          DM – 1 game
          go on transfermarkt
          In previous years, he was a DM

  9. Real Madrid played Vini and Rodrygo up front and non of them is a striker. I don’t understand why we can’t have Okafor up front who in fact, did play as a striker. He was also very lively and inclusive in his game against Novara. With Chuk and Leao on the wings there will be plenty of service as well as goal from all three combined.

  10. LOL Are people actually saying Dominguez isn’t a DM now? Go take a break and touch some grass. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read today.

    1. truth is unrelated to his commitment to disagreeing with you…

      Last year, Dominguez played:
      CM – 25 games
      AM – 5 games
      LW – 2 games
      DM – 1 game

      He previously played as a DM so i’m sure thats where he got the idea.

  11. Why stop at 2 new signings on top of 8?

    Why not demand another 10 on top of that?

    Just a reminder, this is all so we can beat the likes of Cremonese, Spezia and Lecce who were the teams we mostly struggled against last season.

      1. Exactly.

        And the one thing we needed more than ever was a dead ball specialist and instead we sold Tonali and didn’t sign any replacement deadball specialist….

        Is Pulisic?

        1. for the US, he has been pretty terrible compared to Reyna. But this pre-seaon his balls have looked pretty good. I don’t think they should rely on him for it…unless he keeps it up…he tends to hit balls too low which unfortunately is a perfect opportunity to counter.

          1. He scored a direct free kick one of the only times he was allowed to take one.

            YouTube it.

            He was then inexplicably pushed aside in favour Theo and Giroud.

            It’s one of many completely random decisions you get in modern football when managers have too much choice (like going to supermarket on an empty stomach).

      1. Set pieces weren’t as big an issue when we won the title with the exact same defenders.

        Tomori has certainly lost his focus since then and it’s possible that he achieved levels in that period that he can never replicate (which would mean we would need to sign a CB), but before we write him off it would be worth looking at why we started conceding from set pieces.

        One of the reasons I think is because Pioli rotated too many players, including defenders, in those games.

        I actually don’t understand the modern tendency to rotate CBs (including substituting CBs mid-game). The CBs and DM should play nearly every game in a season:

        a) it’s a position that requires absolute familiarity;
        b) it’s a position that doesn’t require as much running.

        According to some neat option on Transfrmarket, Bonucci and Chiellini played together in 200 Serie A games over 10 seasons or 20 games per season, including 28 games in 11/12 season when Juve finished unbeaten.

        If this is what we’re aiming for then we need another defender to play in maybe 10 games.

        Ideally we should play with 3 CBs all season (and have a 4th in case of injury).

        If we sign a new shiny new defender it will just encourage Pioli to rotate more which will lead to more mistakes against the low block counter attack teams.

        1. thanks for taking the time for the detailed response. I too am amazed at what I can find on transfrmarket.

          I agree about the focus, this preseason he had a bad pass turned into a goal and then missed interception in the Monza game turn into a goal. Tiny mistakes but so costly in that part of the field. It doesn’t totally track with his stats which actually look a bit better last year than the year prior, but at his age, I would expect him to be able to start most games and continue to improve…ill be optimistic about it

        2. You say this with all certainty yet support someone like Krunic who constantly wet the bed last season, including getting steamrolled by Inter on multiple occasions.

    1. OH yes, the what if and slippery slope argument. Your argument is nonsensical and here you are spreading more nonsense because people want to question the role of Krunic in the squad.

  12. Last year when we played Bologna, Dominguez caught my eye and I made a comment here in him. But I was thinking more of a back up player…now ppl are clamouring for him as a starter 🤦‍♂️
    I think we need a better player than Dominguez. Dont have anything against him but if we’re replacing him, let’s do it properly

    1. ROFTLMAO. You’re perfectly fine with Krunic as a starter. Make it make sense to me. You and Maldini’s Special Heir are both the same.

      1. Dude, you’re such a waste to respond to that I really don’t even bother with you anymore. Most of the times you don’t read so what’s the point. Half the time spent reiterating what I already wrote. So just move along.
        (PS: never said anything about Krunic much less about him being a starter, the post was about Dominguez 🤦‍♂️, geez)
        Comment kept getting errored

        1. You’re a clown and you keep exposing yourself as a clown. You don’t want Dominguez here because you don’t view him as starting material? Continue being a clown.

    2. glad the stats back up the eye test because the stats between him and krunic kinda lean krunic in terms of the important skills…but more importantly, they play the position in the same way, as opposed to the possession style the team is moving towards. If it is a 433, despite being a dm, the defense isn’t really the important part. Thats clear when you look at the teams who play the formation. Its a pressing formation so the defensive actions should lie with the players in front of them and the two CBs…

      @IKWYDLS do you really want me to go through all the midfielders haha only DMs get cool names like that where I am from and its formation dependent and can change over time…also I can’t confirm the eye test on a few…the stats usually have more to do with the role given and the team around them than the player themselves. For example, Musah has a low passing percentage, but he passes the ball much better than many players with a higher percentage because of his position. Same with defending where metrics are terrible/borderline useless…and way behind where we are with offensive metrics. Its hard to trust some of the metrics that require another player’s action.

      1. Oh yes I definitely agree with that. Stats can only tell you so much but Dominguez did caught my eye..and he does have the stats to back it up.
        If I can recall he looked like a central holding mid. Dude was breaking up our plays down the center. you hit the nail on the head when u mentioned Musah. His percentage passing might be because when your upfield it tends to be low because of the risky nature being upfield. I only trust the stats to a certain point. After that it’s eye test. Like Grujic….his stats looks great..every team in Europe should be after him…..

        1. Yeah the reason i prefer other options is that in the spirit of the formation breaking up plays down the center with frequency should technically be the 8s role (probably why he is there now) while the 6 are really a more offensive minded possession based player like Lobotka (whose passing stats dont even look real) or reijnders. Assuming that most defending will take place further up the pitch resulting in turnovers and possession being a tremendous way to defend.

          When people think defense in a 433, you think Kante (who played as an 8) and less Jorginho who sat behind him (also a tremendous defender). But both are important.

          1. Bingo.
            You know the one thing I can think of that might cause an issue is that one of Tijji, Theo or Leao would suffer. Tijji can’t operate too far up the left side if both Theo and Leao move up, so either Theo stays back or Leao learn to play with Tijji. Tijji is very dynamic with his passing and likes moving players which Leao is not. This new season is going to be really intriguing.
            The Kante 8 makes so much sense. Jim and Jorghino were like Gattuso and Pirlo (but Kante with more skill of). We should get a destroyer of sorts tbh

        2. I believe that musah can/should play that role. If he is given the opportunity. If Lim had let him leave in january to Arsenal, he would have learned it from Partey (although he also could have ended up at Inter…)

          Given how high his tackling percentage is and immediate forward movement whether he gets it from a steal or a pass…the speed and ball control.

          But every coach sees something different…he isn’t the guy sitting back though, he moves in one direction….

          1. I agree that there is a major overlap between Tijji and Theo…they both like to get up the field with the ball and they will both like getting to the same exact spot in the final third like half way to the edge of the box from the middle. 25ish yards out…

  13. Three more signings to match the Fassone-Mirabelli fiasco. If the new signings don’t hit the ground running once Serie A starts, Pioli will be the scapegoat. It won’t be “Pioli is on fire” again. I will be “Pioli is burning to cinders.”

    1. Three problems with making the 2017 Fassone/Mirabelli comparison.

      1) The current base was better than the base back then. This is without dispute. The base we had in place are qualitatively better.

      2) The signings are qualitatively better than what was signed, including having better stats and better qualities. These were also not panic buys, for example, with someone like Kalinic.

      3) No high interest loan. This was funded by the sale of one player.

      So these signings are not similar to what was signed in 2017. The situation is also not different. Milan has registered economic progress. The prior base of the team was better. Ergo, comparing this team, the signings or what was done to 2017 is inappropriate and inaccurate.

  14. The goals given up so far maybe one of them could have been stopped by a dm, but unlikely. They have come from errors from Tomori and Loftus Cheek mostly and 1 from Kjaer and 1 goalkeeper error.

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