Matija Popovic expected to join Milan – background, profile and highlights

By Ben Dixon -

AC Milan have found their first January addition in the form of Matija Popovic. The youngster perfectly aligns with the club’s preferences in the market, and Milan has acted swiftly to snap him up.

Today, Milan has reportedly beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign the highly-rated 17-year-old. The youngster’s contract with Partizan Belgrade expires on the 31st of December. As such, he will travel to Italy after the 8th of January, his 18th birthday, to finalise the details.

Whilst he has not played any senior football, there is a lot to get excited about the Rossoneri’s latest addition. The Serbian fits the mould of a ‘typical striker’ standing at 193cm. However, he can also play on the wing, preferably on the right or behind the striker, because of his technical abilities. 

Alongside this, he has a natural eye for goal. In the Kadetska Liga, Serbia’s youth league, he has scored 21 goals in 25 appearances and also has scored for Serbia’s Under-17 side. 

He will initially work with Ignazio Abate within the Primavera side before he is ready to move into the first-team picture. Milan is keen to ease any pressure on his shoulders by giving him maximum time to adjust to his new environment and footballing culture.

Some of his highlights are linked below, if you are looking to gain further insight into him.

Tags AC Milan Matija Popović


  1. How many transfers are we seeing at youth level!

    I’d say there’s some cash to be made there.

    Not sure what’s it doing for the development of these players. I doubt we’ll see many or any reach the first team.

    I mean with endless new signings to the primavera and endless new signings to the first team it’ll be hard to know who is who let alone pick a team!

    But the media never questions these transfers just hypes, hypes, hypes them.

  2. New rule.

    All transfers under 18 are banned???

    Along with:

    a max of 3 per first team in the summer and 1 per first team in winter

    squad sizes limited to 25

    loans restricted to a max per player in their career with a minimum duration of 12 months

    That’d restore football to being a sport rather than some dodgy trading platform.

    1. “CM: Top Serie A teams could play 71 games in 2024-25”.
      38 Serie A matchdays (+1 possible play-off for Scudetto/relegation.
      Five matches in the Coppa Italia.
       2 matches in the Italian Super Cup.
      17 matches in the new Champions League.
      European Super Cup if win the competition.
      7 matches in the new FIFA Club World Cup.
      Total: 70 matches (71 in the event of a play-off in Serie A).

      But yeah let’s limit the squad to 25 players and by the 10th game of the season Milan will only have 15 available because Pioli training methods and rotations have taken the other 10 out of commission.

      1. The Spanish league is limited to squads of 25…

        But you make a good point.

        Reduce the number of games (has anyone ever heard of over-saturation???):

        – Champions League reduced to…….Champions;
        – UEFA Cup for 3-4 places;
        – bring back the Cup Winners Cup!
        – cut the top leagues back to 16-18 teams.

    2. I agree with the sentiments.

      There is nothing to suggest that the siphoning of young talent by powerhouse nations and clubs is doing anything for development of youth players. I suspect it is the opposite.

      All of these kids would be better off staying at home until they have 2 or 3 seasons of professional level match play. It’s only the absolute prodigies that need to be leaving home. I think we can say that, perhaps Popovic aside, none of the 11 foreigners currently in the Primavera (including Popovic) are prodigies. There may be a world class player there but that’s probably not going to have changed for swapping youth systems. There has always been a bit of that.

      There is maybe something to be said for kids who are seriously disadvantaged by poverty. I can’t help but notice how the French are churning out quality players with African heritage at a level that none of the countries of origin can match. It’s highly unlikely that they’re just getting lucky with natural selection.

      There probably isn’t the money but I’d much rather see teams and maybe even leagues setting up academies around the world.

      1. It’s also of course the very notion of ‘prodigees’ and “X factor’ footballers.

        Everyone’s obsessed with looking for stars but stars don’t actually win titles. Teams do.

        Most of the former Milan players who are considered ‘greats’ would never make it today.

        What seems to be completely missed is becoming an elite athlete is a very serious business.

        What other sport does this?

        Do gymnasts or jockeys or rugby players or other serious elite athletes change teams, coaches, countries, training methods every few months?

        We really need to get out of ours heads that there are these super magical players that will somehow deliver endless titles. Those players barely exist. One of them is Ibrahimovic.

  3. As for Popovic, he is an enticing prospect.

    The versatility is good a thing as it should help him play more matches. However, I’d be surprised if his future as a senior player is on a wing. I doubt he has the speed or speed of foot for that. I suspect he ends up a #9 but I can see him as a SS and even as an AM.

    I hope this article reflects the reality of the situation more than the previous article which suggested that Popovic would be joining the senior team.

    It’s delusional to expect a 193cm guy who has just turned 18 to be able to contribute at senior level – not to mention a player whose most recent experience is playing as an U17. While height is usually an advantage among peers at the underage level, it’s almost the opposite for the same kid at senior level where the difference in physical strength in particular is more pronounced. For some reason soccer seems to be the one sport in which an allowance is not made for the slower development of tall players. It takes longer to add weight to ‘fill out’ and usually to build the endurance to carry that weight.

    All that’s left now is for Milan to work out how to profit from signing these kids by, hopefully, developing first team players, or at least being able to develop them to the point that something meaningful can be realised from a sale.

  4. He seems CdK type of profile but then again I don’t see this as an issue with a proper guidance and a coach. I always set Arteta and Havertz as an example. That kid used to play AM/SS/CF and now he’s deployed in midfield as mezzala/advanced playmaker. Odegaard used to olay RW/AM niw he’s dictating midfield. And he’s doing great. De Bruyne and Silva were wingers and now they are pulling Iniesta in that midfield. It all comes down to ability of a coach.

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