CM: Milan’s plan for the midfield amid AFCON worries and Bakayoko’s issues

By Oliver Fisher -

With the January window less than two months away and AC Milan are competing at the top end of the table, meaning that Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are looking at how to boost the Scudetto challenge.

According to, there are some reservations with regards to the midfield department. In Maldini and Massara’s intentions there is no urgent need to sign another player for the double pivot but there is the African Cup of Nations on the agenda which will be played during the month of January, with the final set for 6 February.

That means that Milan will be without Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie for an indefinite period that could be a few weeks, while there are some key games such as Roma (6/1), Juve (23/1) and finally the return derby with Inter (6/2) in that period, which Sandro Tonali, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Rade Krunic will be left to face.

If Milan were to somehow progress in the Champions League or were to finish third in their group and drop into the Europa League, this would add further commitments until February or early March, when there is the return match against Napoli.

This is where Bakayoko must step up and so far the Frenchman is not having the expected impact both from a physical and a performance point of view. Pioli will use the international break to up the intensity and try get him to 100% condition, but if the problems persist they may look for another midfielder.

Yacine Adli’s loan should not be terminated early as his development at Bordeaux is going smoothly, so it is more likely to imagine a loan signing coming in to bolster depth.

READ MORE: Milan face two problems in Alvarez pursuit – Juve offer and River’s counter-move

Tags AC Milan Tiemoue Bakayoko


  1. How has Bakayoko been underwhelming? He has not started any game because it’s been difficult to bench Tonali, Bennacer or Jessie when they’re fit and available. These are the tried and tested regulars who already formed a nucleus of the team.

    In the games Bakayoko had come in, apart from his first match when he pulled up shortly with the muscle injury, he has been okay. If Pioli will give him more minutes, then we can evaluate and see if he’s adequate or not. He played well when he came on against Bologna and his run into the box led to third go.

    Against Inter, Pioli brought him in for Krunic in the 84th minute. He dropped back while Bennacer pushed up. So, please stop being negative about Bakayoko.

  2. Bakayoko is a good player. I think he can easily replace Kessie. I mean ‘the Kessie of this season’ not ‘last season version presidente’.

  3. Bakayoko needs to be given more time. Pioli needs to start him in place of Kessie, or play Kessie till half time, and bring on Bakayoko for the complete 2nd half. That is how Brahim’s and Tonali’s game became so much better this season. You cannot expect a player to play for 10 mins in a game and expect him to deliver.

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