Rade Krunic is just one of a few examples of players who have performed above expectations and with addition responsibilities under Stefano Pioli.
La Gazzetta dello Sport recall how Krunic arrived in the summer of 2019 from Empoli and has played as an attacking midfielder, deeper-lying midfielder, winger box-to-box midfielder and even full-back, becoming a very valuable resource for Pioli.
Then there is Malick Thiaw who arrived in the summer from Schalke 04 for around €7m. After a few months of waiting he seized his chance with a series of top performances, the most impressive of which were the two legs against Tottenham.
Junior Messias has proven to be valuable and useful on several occasions up until and after his loan became a permanent deal for €4.5m. He is currently being used as a wing-back in the 3-4-2-1 system and has 26 appearances this season, with 5 goals and 2 assists.
After a few months of apprenticeship, Pierre Kalulu made his debut from the start against Sparta Prague in the Europa League and grew to become the revelation of the year of the Scudetto. He has played as a full-back and a centre-back in both a four-man and three-man defence. This year he has played 35 matches, scoring against Roma.
It is easy to also forget that Theo Hernandez’s time at the club started difficultly after his €20m arrival from Real Madrid as Marco Giampaolo preferred Ricardo Rodriguez, considered more disciplined on a tactical level. Then Pioli took over and the Frenchman became irreplaceable. With 5 goals and 10 assists in 41 games, he was the best full-back in the league last year and made it to the World Cup final.
Fundamental to Pioli’s balance, Sandro Tonali experienced a complicated period after joining Milan from Brescia for €10m with a €25m option to buy. The Rossoneri reformulated the agreement and got him for a total of €23m including bonuses, with the player reducing his salary to stay. This season he has collected 32 appearances, 2 goals and 7 assists.
Note how Diaz is not on the list 😀