As the summer transfer window proceeds and the first game gets closer, Carlo Pellegatti believes that a ‘Milan of the three I’s’ is being born.
Milan have had one of the most hectic beginnings to the summer of any team in Serie A and perhaps in Europe, one which began with the departures of Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara as directors and then with the sale of Sandro Tonali.
Since the midfielder left the new-look management have set about rebuilding the team, with Marco Sportiello, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Luka Romero, Christian Pulisic and most recently Tijjani Reijnders coming in to try and improve the depth available to Stefano Pioli, who faces his own challenges in season five.
Speaking in a column for MilanNews, the well-known journalist Carlo Pellegatti gave his thoughts on the summer thus far and the prospects for the coming season.
“Intelligent. Intriguing. Interesting. The Milan of the three I’s is being born,” he began.
“Intelligent: Stefano Pioli has said several times that last season’s experience was more useful than that of the Scudetto for him and for the whole environment.
“In short, he learned a lot in those months, where he and his staff had to manage a group that was extremely busy, in the league to win a place in the Champions League and in Europe, to reach an extraordinary semi-final.
“A squad where the difference was evident, between the 13/14 starters and the rest of the team. As soon as the season ended, the Rossoneri coach therefore began to study the technical and tactical solutions to remain a protagonist, thus avoiding the problems encountered above all in the first months of the year.
“The first request concerned the homogeneity of the group and the physicality of its new members. Without Tonali, Pioli wanted to build a midfield with different characteristics. Intense, physical, powerful. With interchangeable players, who never give a point of reference.
“Reijnders, strongly desired by the AC Milan coach, is an atypical and modern regista. Alongside him the power and running of Loftus-Cheek and perhaps the muscles of Musah. In attack, the grace of Leao left. Centre and right… we’ll see, we’ll see.
“Intriguing: I’m curious to appreciate the many new players live. Understanding how the Rossoneri coach will assemble them. From what I have guessed, Giorgio Furlani, Geoffrey Moncada, Antonio d’Ottavio and Almstadt wanted to give the coaching staff players who can be used both in the classic 4-2-3-1 and in the possible new 4-3-3.
“That’s why the purchase of Pulisic, that of Romero and, we hope, that of ‘Jolly Joker’ Danjuma. In short, it will be a chameleonic Milan, strong, as I said, but with the style and class guaranteed by tradition.
“They already know the identity of the Club well, of course the many old interpreters, but also those fresh from the shirt. Thus we will discover, game after game, the qualities of the group, led by Stefano Pioli, who, as never before this season, appears at the center of the project.”
“Interesting: This Milan 2023-2024 will not be a trivial team. As always, they will start behind the usual favourites, with the skepticism of those who… understand.
“In a few weeks, the usual litany about the demerits of Inter, on the occasion of triumph number 19, and those of Napoli, when the Rossoneri beat them and conquer the semi-final of the Champions League, will certainly begin.
“So the Rossoneri will only be included among the surprises because the others… well, you want to include the others! It’s a Milan that wants to innovate, that wants to fill the gap with the top European clubs, not with individuals, daughters of investments beyond logic and measure, but thanks to its organised and functional game.
“One of the merits of Pioli’s group, in the last two seasons, has been to start strong, to put in the farmhouse the points that are needed on the cold evenings of… winter football.
“When results struggle to arrive and morale falls to the ground. It won’t be easy, in August and September, due to a difficult calendar in Italy, especially for a team that has to assemble many new players, and complicated in Europe.
“The third pot in the pot can reserve high-level opponents even in the groups. On the other hand, why then did Pioli want a homogeneous and powerful group? Precisely to manage two months that promise to be as complicated and dangerous as they are exciting and fascinating.
“Never like this year, the fans seem involved, enthusiastic and close to this Milan so new and so enthusiastic. Anyway, it’s off to a good start.
“The newly acquired players and those who will arrive, at least 5 or 6 still, have proudly chosen Milan for its history and its past, but also for its philosophy, for its strategy and for its healthy and stimulating environment.
“There are only a few hours left until the Milanello debut and never, as in these hours, does it come natural and spontaneous for me to murmur, with a smile: ‘I can’t wait for them to play again!’.”