His quality, the price and the high expectations: these are three factors that drove Milan fans crazy when Sandro Tonali arrived this summer. In addition to, of course, the fact that the midfielder is a boyhood Rossoneri fan.
As highlighted by MilanNews.it, the 20-year-old arrived at Milan in later September, following a month of inactivity. He wasn’t able to get a starting spot straight away, as expected, since Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer are world-class right now.
Stefano Pioli has decided to gradually insert him, especially in the Europa League, and so far Tonali has alternated between good performances and rather anonymous ones. Right on cue, some criticism has even arrived, which isn’t fair at all.
Going back a year from now, there were similar headlines about Bennacer. At the start of the season, the most negative opinions followed one another due to a struggling start from the former Empoli man.
In Milan-Fiorentina, the 22-year-old was disastrous, so much that Lucas Biglia started the following three games instead. And last year’s Biglia, with all due respect, is many miles away from Kessie and Bennacer’s current level.
The Algerian, who for many ‘was not Milan material’, then regained his place, growing gradually and becoming almost irreplaceable. Of course, Tonali doesn’t have to make the exact same journey, but it’s a good example to follow.
He has what it takes to become an important player for Milan but the process could be slower than Bennacer. Not so much because of quality or age but rather because Bennacer didn’t have as much competition last year.
And with that said, patience is required even when it comes to making judgments, which was the lesson of the whole Bennacer story. Negative performances are something that players learn from, they just need a bit of time.