No Giroud and Leao for Milan-Fiorentina – the possible solutions for Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are not in the best of moments. After the 2-2 draw at Lecce, which extended their winless streak to four league games, the Rossoneri have to deal with two pieces of bad news ahead of the resumption of the season after the international break.

The first concerns Rafael Leao, who came off in the 10th minute of the first half due to a muscle problem. The tests the Portuguese underwent showed a first-degree injury to his right hamstring, which will force him to be out of action for at least two weeks.

Leao will certainly miss the home match against Fiorentina, scheduled for November 25th, and will try to recover for the delicate Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund, on November 28th.

Giroud sees red

The second issue concerns Olivier Giroud, who was sent off in the 93rd minute for protesting against the referee Abisso, guilty of not having whistled a handball by Pongracic on the edge of the area.

The Frenchman – who scored his 40th goal in 100 appearances for the Rossoneri – now risks a suspension of up to four matches. Everything will depend on what the match director puts in his report.

According to the new regulation, if it were to emerge that Giroud had behaved disrespectfully towards Abisso, he could incur the minimum sanction provided for by article 36 of the sporting justice code which would be a four-match ban, otherwise it will be two.

Pioli’s options

The break comes to the aid of Milan with regards to Leao, who will not leave to take part in the commitments against Portugal, but upon their return Milan will face two crucial matches in the scheme of their season.

On Saturday 25 November there will be a game against Fiorentina to try recover the ground lost in the last league matches while Juventus host Inter, then Borussia Dortmund will arrive at San Siro on Tuesday 28th in a massive game for Champions League round of 16 qualifications.

Against La Viola, Pioli will be forced to field an unprecedented Milan with Okafor taking the place of Rafael Leao on the left and Luka Jovic in the centre of the trident to replace the suspended Giroud.

For the UCL match, the hope of the Rossoneri medical staff will be to have the Portuguese winger available again, but what is more likely is that Okafor keeps his place (or Pulisic shifts to the left with Samuel Chukwueze on the right) with Leao coming off the bench. Giroud is disqualified in the league and not in Europe so he will return to lead the line.

Milestone then renewal?

Giroud could soon extend his deal with Milan. The Frenchman, who arrived in the summer of 2021 on a free transfer from Chelsea, proved to be a fundamental piece for the Rossoneri attack, scoring six goals in ten Serie A games and becoming the most decisive over-35 player in Europe.

His contract with Milan expires in 2024, but includes an option for automatic renewal in the event of Champions League qualification. However, according to the latest rumours, the club and the player are negotiating to bring that renewal and extend the relationship until 2025.

Giroud, is happy at Milan and would like to continue wearing the Rossoneri shirt also in view of the European Championship in Germany next year. Milan would like to lower his €3.5m net salary, but the player could ask for a pay rise based on his performances. The negotiation, however, is progressing positively.

Tags AC Milan Olivier Giroud Rafael Leao


  1. Why would Pioli put Okafor on the left, Jovic at the nine and Pulisic on the right when he could put Pulisic on his more natural left, Okafor at the nine and give Chuk another chance on the right?

    There are other options, but FiorentIna’s back line have shown a susceptibility to speed and a desire to play a high line, and that front three is not only the best option (IMHO) but could double as a track team.

    1. “Why would Pioli put Okafor on the left, Jovic at the nine and Pulisic on the right when he could put Pulisic on his more natural left, Okafor at the nine and give Chuk another chance on the right?”

      Because for some strange reason Pioli thinks Jovic can be useful while everyone else knows he’s pure trash and nothing more than a waste of money. Even Origi was/is better.

        1. Well… How could he? 3 or 4 touches on the ball, one scoring attempt, lots of dispossessions of the ball. Not much room to do worse.

  2. Fiorentina game will be one where we will need either Theo, RLC, or Reinjders to score for us. Pulisic may come and help but tbh with okafor and jovic up front i doubt we will see goals or assists from them two.

  3. Well I am a huge fan of Olivier Giroud, as most of you already know ,but seeing that he will not be available,,please use okafor and not jovic as no 9 ..
    Loftus Cheek is a huge plus ,,as he can score goals ..if pulisic is available even better news ..
    It’s a difficult time ahead ,but somehow something tells me that we can get some better results..
    I really do fancy our chances of beating Dortmund,,Giroud will be back ,,also hopefully some good news about Rafeol leao ..

  4. I don’t think Pioli will play Okafor on the left, Chuk/Pulisic on the right and Jovic at the 9 if Pulisic is health. If Pulisic is healthy play him on the left, Chukwueze on the right and play Okafor at the 9. Pioli played this frontline against Cagliari and we won 3-1. If RLC is healthy enough to play we have a good chance to bet Fiorentina.

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