Augello, Gallo, Pellegrini and more: Six deputy left-backs Milan could consider

By Rohit Rajeev -

The AC Milan management are currently tasked with fine-tuning the squad and one of the roles they are looking at is the left-back position.

According to the latest from Gianluca Di Marzio, it seems as though Fode Ballo-Touré is going to Bologna or OGC Nice so a replacement for the Senegal international is needed.

The journalist suggested two targets from Juventus with the first being Luca Pellegrini, who spent last season on loan at Lazio, and the other being Andrea Cambiaso who has just returned after a season at Bologna.

It’s set in stone that Theo Hernandez will be the starting left-back for next season given he is among the elite players in that position, but to compete across three competitions it will be necessary to rotate with quality depth.

Fabiano Parisi was one of the favourites given his similarities to Theo in terms of their approach to the game, but he has joined Fiorentina. Who else could be on the list? We look through some options.

Tomasso Augello – Sampdoria

Transfermarkrt value: €2m
Height: 1.8m
Age: 28

Coming from the Spezia academy, Augello was signed in order to give competition to Nicolas Murru for the then-coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

Used to playing in a back four and a back three, Augello has never made his love for Milan secret. At 28 years of age and after being relegated with Sampdoria, agreeing Personal terms wouldn’t be difficult for Augello.

Sampdoria would want to lighten their wage bill, however the new coach Andrea Pirlo wouldn’t want to let him go easily. It is worth nothing that he would also add to the homegrown quota for the UEFA squad lists.

Luca Pellegrini – Juventus

Transfermarkrt value: €7m
Height: 1.78m
Age: 24

As mentioned above, Pellegrini has actually been linked with Milan recently. He came through the Roma academy and exploded on loan at Cagliari where he had six assists, which earned him a move to Juventus.

Injuries killed his progress and after several failed loan moves – including a latest one to Lazio – the 24-year-old is at risk of becoming a bit of a journeyman unless he picks his next club correctly.

The chance to join Milan and play in the Champions League could be the right challenge to revive his career but there is a big question mark regarding his fitness record and if he can cope with Pioli’s intense style.

Juve may open up for a loan deal, while Pellegrini still has a long journey ahead and he would once again qualify for the homegrown list.

Antonino Gallo – Lecce

Transfermarkrt value: €2.5m
Height: 1.83m
Age: 23

Gallo’s performance against Milan was impressive. He did have Junior Messias to deal with on his flank rather than Junior Messias, but he was solid and didn’t give away much.

When Lecce had to attack he was the starting point of many of them. The Giallorossi may ask a fee in the range of €5-10m to sell, and at 23 years of age it remains to be seen if the Italian would like to be a deputy. He is another player that would help the homegrown list.

Lecce, Antonino Gallo rinnova il suo contratto fino al 2026 | CIP

Pasquale Mazzocchi – Salernitana

Transfermarkrt value: €4.8m
Height: 1.83m
Age: 27

Mazzocchi is more of a wing-back who only joined Salernitana in the early part of last year. He is mostly used to playing higher up but he can play on both the right and left flanks, which is a useful tool to have as we saw with Diogo Dalot.

At 27 years of age and at his peak, Mazzocchi may be tempted to move to Milan in attempts to win silverware in his career. He would cost somewhere between €3-8m and would be a homegrown player, while the Rossoneri management could exploit an axis with the Granata.

Junior Firpo – Leeds United

Transfermarkrt value: €10m
Height: 1.84m
Age: 26

Firpo was linked to Milan when Barcelona were looking to offload him. However, he chose Leeds presumably because he did not want to be a deputy to Theo Hernandez and was keen on a starting spot.

With Leeds relegated to the Championship it might be worth another attempt for the left-back because a step up from the second division to the Champions League is something most players wouldn’t reject.

Leeds might hold out for the €15m fee they paid to sign him or at least most of that amount, while Firpo is not homegrown but is not a non-EU player either given his Spanish passport.

6. Noussair Mazraoui – Bayern Munich

Transfermarkrt value: €20m
Height: 1.83m
Age: 25

An Ajax academy product, Mazraoui was snatched on a free transfer by Bayern Munich because of his ability to play anywhere in defence.

He is excellent at the World Cup playing left-back when Achraf Hakimi was on the other flank for Morocco. Mazraoui possess speed and intelligence and very good ball control.

However with much less playing time at Bayern, rumours have that he might want to leave Bayern. The German club would probably want a sizeable fee for him and it seems difficult to imagine the Rossoneri paying up for a back-up, though a loan may be explored.

As mentioned, Mazraoui represents Morocco on the international stage but has Dutch passport making him an EU player.

Statistical analysis

Rather than just comparing profiles, it is also important to take a look at the data to see who might provide the most seamless transition in terms of having similar numbers to Theo.

For Defensive Actions, Tackles + Interception + Shots Blocked and Clearances (all per 90 minutes) are measured.

For Attacking Actions, Progressive Carries (ball dribbled from defensive half to attacking half) and Crosses into the penalty area per 90 minutes are considered.

Luca Pellegrini’s 2019-20 season has been used as he hasn’t played much in other campaigns, and Tommaso Augello’s 2021-22 season has been used.


Theo Hernandez’s defensive actions suffered a lot last season but he still had a good number. He still tops the list for attacking actions, which is no surprise given it is his natural instinct.

Firpo is definetly one of the best defensive-minded full-back of the lot and likes to protect more rather than bomb forwards and join the attack.

Mazraoui may well be the best of the bunch because he is offensively and defensively very good, but as mentioned would come at a cost.

Gallo playing for Lecce has very good defensive stats but does not have good attacking numbers, perhaps something that is more down to their approach.

Augello has good defensive stats while his attacking stats aren’t on a par with Theo. What he excels at however is crossing balls into the penalty box.

Pellegrini in his best season had both defensive actions while bringing attacking threat upfront, with six assists registered.

Finally Mazzocchi of Salernitana. He comes closest to Theo Hernandez in terms of attacking and defensive output. Playing at wing-back may amplify his offensive abilities and stats.


This is of course just a list of potential candidates ranging from realistic to optimistic, and the management will no doubt be sifting through a pile of 10x as many profiles.

However, the numbers show that Augello would be the most cost effective in terms of what he offers in performances. He had a poor 2022-23 season but it shouldn’t erase what he did the year prior in a less chaotic environment.

The key thing is that Geoffrey Moncada and Giorgio Furlani sort a player who is an upgrade on Ballo-Toure; a profile that offers something at both ends, is happy to be a deputy, falls within budget and is consistent.

Tags AC Milan Antonino Gallo junior firpo Luca Pellegrini Noussair Mazraoui Pasquale Mazzocchi Tommaso Augello


  1. My brother is a die hard Augello fan. He was one of the only good players in the horrible Samp. It doesn’t say much of course. But I think he can do good in a good team.

  2. Interesting that the 45 degree line suggests Mazaroui and Pellegrini are better than Theo stats-wise. But in reality Theo is vastly more important in his role for Milan than the other two in theirs. I wonder what a cone analysis would look like (ie equivalent tradeoffs between offense and defence). Eyeing it, it might be the same result

    1. I keep saying this, most times, stats and data doesn’t represent all that is needed to truly assess a situation or player.

      1. Yes exactly. And also the importance relative to the team. You can’t see that in stats but stats do uncover some things. You have to actually see the player in game to get a feel and that’s when a good scout makes his keep

  3. Easy to get from that target are augello , an milanista also his club got relegated make him available for cheap price

  4. Pellegrini is the best choice in my opinion. Young and good on both end. He can grow into a real top player without pressure under Theo.

    Good value for the money and good upside for a player with huge potential.

  5. No one in our Primavera has the slightest chance to get promoted in this LB deputy dept? Meanwhile Renan Lodi went to OM for just 13 mil. Surely he could be a more than decent backup for Theo.

    1. We don’t even need a LB.

      Calabria can play there and that would ensure multiple games for him, Theo and Kalulu, with the latter also covering for CB ensuring he hits 20 plus appearances. We’ve also Florenzi.

      We don’t need 2 perfectly formed players for each position. Stones played CB, RB and DM for Man City last season. It’s more important that players can play across positions so they get lots of game time and are therefore sharp.

      If Pioli is going to be rotating 8-9 for Serie A games with his massive, multi-million euro squad then that is going to end just like last season.

  6. Pellegrini or Gallo. Pellegrini may have had some injuries, but it would be hilarious to see him take off here at Milan. Juve does kill careers.

    1. Augello did have five assists and he would probably be the lowest cost one. He’s very good. Maybe we can just sign him for cheaper and just focus on other parts of the team.

  7. There are better options out there. Gallo augello Pellegrini firpo mazzochi cambiaso they would another Ballo Toure. We need better. Like Ian Maatsen Adrien Truffert Quentin Merlin Rayan Aït Nouri Sacha Boey Kilian Sildilia Amar Dedic Wilfred Singo Milos Kerkez Bjorn Meijer Fetih Kadioglu Vanderson Ivan Fresneda Valentin Barco Jesus Vasquez Tyrick Mitchell Juan Miranda Gonçalo Esteves Arnau Martinez

    1. Yeah and the unknown guys on the other list whom most are not yet familiar with top flight football are safer

  8. I have two friends who are Leeds fans who would both probably pay for Firpos plane ticket themselves just to make sure he left.

    If it were up to me I’d keep Bozzolan around the first team, but from that list I’d go for Pellegrini on loan with a firm option.

  9. Mazzocchi. Italian International ,one of the best full backs in the league last season, can cover both sides and lovely to watch going up and down the side.

  10. We had Milos Kerkez- an ideal young left back in our team 2 years ago. We bought for nothing, and after a year, he was sold to AZ Alkmar for 1,3mill. After one season he playd in the Eredivise, Lazio offeering 12 mill. euros for him. I think it was a terible mistake from AC Milan!

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