It’s an obvious correlation that ever since AC Milan have failed to have a 20-goal-a-season striker, it has corresponded with one of the worst periods in recent Milan memory. Furthermore, we have seen rival’s strikers flourish over recent years; and ones that were even dubbed to become Rossonero, head elsewhere and become stars, i.e. Dybala and this all hurts a touch more.
Those days are hopefully behind us. As Kalinic’s trial season hasn’t produced what was expected of him, a move to German giants Schalke seems to be more and more likely. With this, there seems to be around €20-30m that could be available to pump into our forward line.
Keep in mind that Gattuso has come out and said recently that they hope to sign a 20-goal striker this summer. In this article, we will present both options of a realistic striker replacement to Kalinic, but also dream scenarios that we may well see happen in the coming months.
Now to be realistic with AC Milan’s striker position we must first consider a few things. First off, Milan are in no doubt in the middle of a rebuilding process that in all reality should take a couple more years before it sees Milan challenging the pinnacle of Italian football again.
Now, in trying to get back there, Milan must first assess what they truly have at the club currently at the striker department. If we look at our team we have an ageing and under-effective Nikola Kalinic.
Then, we have the new arrival and in terms of the league, kind of a disappointing debut season for Andre Silva, but there is much to improve on. In fact, he could very well go on and have a phenomenal World Cup, boosting his confidence with it. Finally, we have Patrick Cutrone, who’s had a consistent improvement throughout the season, he may just be one or two seasons away from being Milan’s starting striker.
To fill the hole of a presumably leaving Kalinic we need to find someone who would be around the €20-25m mark, as well as being able to be used in a variety of positions, as we have holes at both wings, and not too much to replace it with money wise. For this, Ajax has a depth of talent, all capable of starting on the wings or up front, and by this, we are referring to the likes of Justin Kluivert, David Neres, and Kasper Dolberg. All of these Ajax talents are 21 or younger, with Neres being 21, Dolberg 20, and Kluviert 19.
If we just go back and look at Milan’s history of Ajax bred players, the list is incredible; Seedorf, Van Basten, and even Justin Kluivert’s dad, Patrick, to name a few. Now, expecting this outcome from any young purchase is hefty, but with the potential they have all shown so far at Ajax, it could be the next crop of young talent to emerge from one of the best breeding grounds in all of Europe.
All have current values on the market of around €15-20m, if not more, meaning with the right push by Milan’s board, we could see any of these three in a Rossonero shirt next fall. Other notable options include Andrej Kramaric from Hoffenheim, who in 25 starts up front has ten goals and five assists, also being capable of playing in the attacking midfield as well as either wing.
Kramaric, a former Dynamo Zagreb academy graduate, has been vital in Hoffenheim’s push for 4th this season, and he very well could be on his way out of the club this summer. The player is coming into his prime at age 26, and he could be trying to get that big payday before it’s too late.
For the unrealistic, but still entirely possible transfers this window, the four we have highlighted are Andrea Belotti from Torino, Karim Benzema from Madrid, and Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben from Bayern, both of which are out of contract at the end of the year and could move for a free transfer. First off, although Belotti hasn’t had the best of years, he is clearly capable of scoring at will. Due to the immense interest from Milan last summer, it’s hard not to see the club at least sniff around again at the Rooster, as he’s called.
Now, on to Karim. It has been evident that the Madrid faithful are losing their patience with Benzema, and he may be looking for a move this summer after the World Cup, especially if Madrid go on to win the Champion’s league for the third year running. Let us open our arms and hope that Karim would come to Milan, as he would be the perfect mentor to help develop Andre Silva and Cutrone. The only problem would be the Bernabeu side’s manager, Zinedine Zidane, who really likes the Frenchman.
Robben and Ribery would only be transferred if we could get them for free. However, they would require extremely high wages and rightfully demand starting places in the team, but I could see both working here, as there is a dearth of wing options for the left, meaning Ribery would fit seamlessly into the team there, allowing Hakan the flexibility to be used in both midfield and on the wing.
Robben would be a harder fit, as Suso has a very valid claim to that spot, but I think the same would happen as Ribery expect Robben could very well fill in up front and on the left if needed. All in all, any of these last four would be substantial signings for the club, a true testament to the claim they are trying to make. Milan is back, and it will bleed red in a short manner of time again.