The next sensible steps for Milan on the mercato – defence a priority

By Isak Möller -

After reaching the agreement with Club Brugge for Charles De Ketelaere, AC Milan now have the opportunity to focus on other mercato pursuits. The defence remains a priority, as does the midfield, with a few targets outlined. 

Given what the squad currently looks like, including De Ketelaere, it only makes sense for Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara to shift focus to the defence. Stefano Pioli currently has Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu available, but a capable backup is needed.

Matteo Gabbia has done very well in pre-season but the Rossoneri intend to send him out on loan, thus guaranteeing him much more playing time. Therefore, that leaves Pioli with Simon Kjaer as the backup, and his condition is very uncertain for now.

In an ideal world, Kjaer will be the backup for Kalulu next season and a signing will be the backup for Tomori. Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham could be the perfect profile in that sense, but the left-footed Abdou Diallo of PSG has also been mentioned lately.

Compared to the midfield, the defence is more of a priority as Pioli has Tommaso Pobega, Yacine Adli and Rade Krunic to rely on for the midfield tandem (back-up wise). Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer will be the starters.

Milan need to offload Tiemoue Bakayoko before making any signings for the midfield, although convincing him to leave shouldn’t be that hard.

Tags AC Milan Paolo Maldini Ricky Massara


  1. This is not sensible at all.

    Let me write it once more, at current state, here are the players who can only be registered using A list at UCL:

    Academy Product (4 slots):
    1. Calabria
    2. Gabbia
    3. Pobega
    4. –

    Association Homegrown (4 slots):
    1. Mirante
    2. Florenzi
    3. Tonali
    4. Bennacer

    Non-Homegrown (17 slots):
    1. Maignan
    2. Tatarusanu
    3. Tomori
    4. Kalulu
    5. Kjaer
    6. Theo
    7. Balo-Toure
    8. Krunic
    9. Bakayoko
    10. De Ketelaere
    11. Adli
    12. Diaz
    13. Messias
    14. Saelemaekers
    15. Leao
    16. Rebic
    17. Ibrahimovic
    18. Giroud
    19. Origi
    20. Lazetic

    As you can see, 3 players from non-homegrown list need to be cut, either sell them, loan them out, terminate their loan, or exclude them from UCL squad. That is the sensible step.

    Replacing Gabbia with non-academy product is not sensible at all as it make the situation worse, it will result in more excluded players or need for more sales.

    Bakayoko need to be cut, but even then it won’t open any slot. One of Diaz or Balo-Toure need to be cut too. Lazetic can take Zlatan slot before being loaned as Zlatan return. Only then no one will be excluded from UCL squad like what Castillejo and Pellegri experienced last season.

    1. I think the only way a new defender can come without excluding anyone from UCL squad is by doing all of these things:
      • Terminate the loan of Bakayoko
      • Terminate the loan of Diaz
      • Sell Balo-Toure, replace him with primavera player
      • Loan out Lazetic after Ibrahimovic return at new year.

    2. Baka will be out and replaced by new DMF. Lazetic will be loaned and replaced by new CB . After ibra fit just change lord saladmaker with ibra . We dont need lord saladmaker, many player can fill his role like junior,origi,CDK even florenzi can RW

  2. The biggest question it actually who should go among Brahim, Messias, or Alexis. I am quite sure that at least one of them will, the latest in January. Money-wise Alexis is no. 1 candidate, but tactically it’s a bad choice.

    1. I think Brahim should go, he doesn’t have a future at the club, and Milan just need to terminate the loan, no need to find buyer, it will also free some wage bill. Even if CDK is used as RW, Messias can become the backup of Adli as he is originally an AM.

      1. And I think Messias is better at Champions League rather than Serie A, the games are more open at Champions League. His stat last season in UCL was insane, 1 goal and 1 assist in just 115 minutes. The moment he took the field against Atletico, the defense of Atletico crumble, they had to foul him over and over just to stop him, still he manage to not only score the winning goal but he actually start the move that result in that goal.

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