After their best season performance against Napoli at the Maradona on Sunday, one could assume that AC Milan’s attack is firing on all cylinders and doesn’t need much tweaking. The reality, however, is far different.
Olivier Giroud is expected to renew for another year and most Milan fans will agree this is good news, but the near 37-year-old should not and hopefully will not be Milan’s full starting striker next season like he most definitely has been this campaign.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 41 and while he might yet renew, he cannot be trusted or relied on anymore as he is unable to string together more than two games in a row. However, his presence is still important to Milan in many ways, just less so now as an active player.
Lastly, is that of the underwhelming Divock Origi, whose numbers do not make for good viewing. It is clear he has not got the full trust of the management, nor should he, so the signing of a new striker is of paramount importance to add youth, reliability and above all goals.
Below is a list of six players we will analyse as replacements or reinforcements for the Rossoneri’s dire need of striking quality. These range from heavily linked young targets to older more established options and a couple of wildcard picks.
Rasmus Hojlund – Atalanta
Hojlund is a Danish striker currently playing for Atalanta in Serie A. He has been making waves in the league with his impressive performances and has caught the attention of many top clubs across Europe. Hojlund possesses good speed and technical ability, which could make him a great addition to Milan’s attack.
He is known for his pace, agility, and technical ability, which make him a dangerous attacking player. Hojlund is also known for his work rate and ability to press and harry defenders, which makes him an effective player both on and off the ball.
In terms of his technical ability, Hojlund is a skilled dribbler who can beat defenders in one-on-one situations. He is also a good finisher, with a knack for finding the back of the net from a variety of positions. His speed and agility allow him to create space and get in behind the opposition’s defence, which can be a valuable asset for any team.
In regard to his potential talent, Hojlund is still a relatively young player and has the potential to develop his skills even further. If he can continue to improve his game, he could become an even more dangerous attacking player, capable of creating and scoring goals at the highest levels of professional football.
In terms of his weaknesses however, Hojlund may need to work on his physicality and strength to compete effectively against more physical defenders. He may also need to work on his decision-making and awareness in certain situations, such as when to release the ball or when to take on defenders.
Overall, Rasmus Hojlund is a talented and promising young striker who has the potential to become a top player in the future. His pace, technical ability, and work rate make him a valuable asset for any team, and with continued development, he could become an even more effective attacking player.
It must be worth mentioning though regardless of his exploits this season in Serie A and for Denmark internationally, he lacks experience at the highest level, and Milan may not want to take a risk on an untested player especially one that will garner a significant fee, likely in the €40-50m.
Marcus Thuram – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Currently playing for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga, Thuram is a powerful and physical striker who can hold up the ball and create opportunities for his team-mates. Thuram’s physical presence would add much-needed depth to Milan’s attack, and his experience in top-flight football could be a valuable asset.
Thuram is primarily a centre forward but can also play on either wing due to his pace, strength, and excellent ball control. He is a good finisher and can score goals from different angles and distances. He is also a capable dribbler who can take on defenders one-on-one and create scoring opportunities for himself and his team-mates.
Thuram’s physical attributes are one of his main strengths. He is a tall and muscular player who is hard to dispossess and is a handful for defenders to handle.
He is also good in the air, both defensively and offensively, and can win headers in the penalty area to create scoring chances. With this in mind, he would for the mould of replacement for either Zlatan and Giroud or at least one of them.
Thuram is also a team player who works hard in the non-possession phase to press defenders and win back possession. He is a willing runner who can make incisive runs to exploit gaps in the opposition’s defence and create space for his teammates.
In terms of his potential talent, Thuram is still a young player at 25 but with that comes with more experience and development than Hojlund, for example.
Even still, he has room to develop his skills further. If he can continue to improve his finishing and decision-making in the final third, he could become a top-class striker who can score consistently at the highest level of football.
However, one area where Thuram could improve is his consistency. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but he has also been known to have games where he is relatively quiet and ineffective.
In summary, Marcus Thuram is a talented forward with a lot of potential. His physical attributes and technical skills make him a dangerous attacking player who can score and create goals. If he can continue to improve and work on his consistency, he could become a top striker in the future.
It seems he could well swap Germany for Italy, with his father Lillian being a Serie A legend and the fact that Thuram was born in Italy. Perhaps the return to his birth country is on the cards.
Folarin Balogun – Stade Reims
Balogun is a young English striker who is currently on loan to Ligue 1 side Stade Reims from Arsenal. He has shown more than just glimpses of his potential with Reims and has caught the eye of many top clubs.
He is a versatile striker who can play across the front line and possesses good technical ability. He currently sits third in the top scorer’s for Ligue 1 with an impressive 17 goals, with only Jonathan David (who will be discussed later) and Kylian Mbappe above him by two goals with 19 each respectively.
What makes this more impressive is that Reims are by far the ‘weakest’ team to have such a prolific lead scorer at least on paper, which again proves the utter brilliance Balogun has shown so far this season.
One of Balogun’s greatest strengths is his ability to score goals. He has been a prolific scorer at youth level and has already shown flashes of his goal-scoring ability in his limited appearances for Arsenal’s first team.
He is a clinical finisher with a good sense of positioning and a natural ability to find the back of the net. Another aspect of Balogun’s game that sets him apart is his ability to create opportunities for himself and his team-mates.
He is a technically gifted player with excellent dribbling skills, and he is not afraid to take on defenders one-on-one. He is also comfortable playing in tight spaces, and he has a good understanding of how to link up with his team-mates to create scoring chances.
In terms of his potential, Balogun is still very young still only 21, and there is a lot of room for him to develop and improve his game. If he continues to work hard and hone his skills, he has the potential to become one of the next top strikers.
He has already attracted interest from other clubs, and many believe that he has what it takes to play at the highest level. But, it must be noted with any player exploding like this and with such an exciting and top performing parent club in Arsenal, it will be a tough battle to get his signature.
Overall, Folarin Balogun is a very promising young talent with a lot of potential. His goal-scoring ability, technical skills, and creativity make him an exciting player to watch, and if he continues to progress at his current rate, he could become a star in the years to come.
Jonathan David – Lille
David is a Canadian striker who is currently playing for Lille in Ligue 1. He is a clinical finisher with good speed and technical ability. David has again been in good form this season, as mentioned above, he is already on 19 goals this season with the last two seasons he has not scored less than 15 goals, with this season’s haul already his best in France.
David’s ability and clear growth year on year as a young striker is impressive. He possesses great technical skills, pace, and excellent finishing ability. He has a keen eye for goal and has shown that he can score goals from various positions on the pitch. He is also a great passer and has an excellent vision, which allows him to create chances for his team-mates.
One of the 23-year-olds standout attributes is his intelligence on the pitch. He has a great understanding of the game and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. David’s decision-making skills are also impressive for someone so young.
Another strength of the former Gent star’s game is his versatility. He can play as a central striker, but he is also comfortable playing on the wings. His pace and dribbling ability make him a dangerous attacking threat no matter where he is on the pitch.
In terms of potential, David has the potential to become one of the best strikers in the world. He has already shown that he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and he is only 23 years old. With his talent, work ethic, and determination, David has the potential to dominate the game for years to come.
However, as with any young player, there are areas of his game that he can improve. The New York born forward could work on his physical strength and his ability to hold the ball up against bigger, stronger defenders. He could also work on his positioning off the ball to create more space for himself and his teammates.
In conclusion, David is a highly talented young striker with immense potential. He possesses a wide range of skills and attributes that make him a dangerous attacking threat.
He would slot into this Milan side fantastically well and really learn some incredible things from the likes of Zlatan and Giroud that will only make his already impressive development, even better and more comprehensive.
The only hurdle – and it’s a big one – is his current €45m valuation (as per Transfermarkt) and the rumours he could leave for €50-60m, which would likely price Milan out. However, the Rossoneri have good relations with Lille (see the Rafael Leao and Mike Maignan deals) and therefore something could perhaps materialise.
Gianluca Scamacca – West Ham
Scamacca is a young Italian striker currently playing for West Ham. Although he has clearly struggled this season in the Premier League, the English media banding out statements that he is not good enough for the English top flight is bogus.
Unfortunately for him he plays for a struggling team in the relegation zone and for a manager who clearly does not rate him, at least not yet. Therefore, his current season exploits should not be a negative mark and his previous performances or Sassuolo and in the Serie A will be the main focus here.
Having made waves in Serie A before his departure of Sassuolo for West Ham, he dazzled the Italian top flight with numerous impressive performances that caught the attention of many top clubs.
Scamacca is a physical and technical striker who can hold up the ball and create opportunities. He is still relatively untested at the highest level, but his potential could make him a good long-term investment for Milan.
The 24-year-old is a tall and powerful striker, standing at 1.90m (6’3″) with a good physique that makes him a formidable presence in the penalty box. He is also an intelligent player with good technical skills and excellent positioning. His aerial ability is one of his strongest assets, which makes him a dangerous target in the box for crosses and set-pieces.
Despite his physical prowess, Scamacca is not just a typical target man. He is also very comfortable with the ball at his feet and possesses good dribbling skills, which he uses to create space for himself and others. Additionally, he has a powerful and accurate shot, which makes him a threat from outside the box as well.
The Rome-born striker still has plenty of room for development and improvement. He has already shown glimpses of his potential with some impressive performances in Serie A and the Italian national team. With the right guidance and opportunities, Scamacca has the potential to become a top-level striker in the future.
However, there are also some areas where Scamacca could improve. His decision-making can sometimes be questionable, and he can be too individualistic at times, which results in him losing possession or making the wrong pass.
He also needs to work on his consistency, as he has shown flashes of brilliance but has struggled to maintain it over the course of a full season. He was also bought by West Ham for €36m and is contracted until 2027. Therefore, a cheap deal is not going to happen.
Mauro Icardi – Galatasaray
Lastly is the true wildcard of Icardi, by far the oldest player out of these options and more of a shorter-term fix. Even so, the fact that he is playing in Turkey is irrelevant to a point as he is by far the most experienced player out of these having proved himself in Serie A, Ligue 1 and in the Champions League extensively.
The Argentine striker is currently playing for Galatasaray on loan from PSG but has been linked with a move away given he has 15 goal contributions in 15 games. Icardi is a proven goal-scorer and possesses good technical ability. However, his off-field issues have raised concerns, and Milan may be hesitant to take a risk on him.
Icardi is a prolific goalscorer who has consistently been among the top scorers in Serie A. He has a natural ability to find the back of the net, and his finishing skills are top notch. He is also a poacher who is always in the right place at the right time, which makes him a dangerous player inside the penalty area.
In addition to his scoring ability, Icardi is also a physically strong player who is good in the air. He is capable of holding up the ball and bringing his teammates into play, and his work rate off the ball is also commendable.
However, the 30-year-old’s game is not without its weaknesses. He is not particularly fast, which can limit his ability to make runs in behind. Additionally, his style of play can be somewhat selfish at times, as he tends to focus on scoring goals rather than creating opportunities.
As for his potential as a striker option for Milan, much will depend on the team’s tactical setup and the other players around him. If Milan were to sign Icardi, they would likely be looking for a player who could score goals on a consistent basis, and he certainly has the ability to do so.
However, Milan’s style of play often relies on a mobile and flexible attack, with players who can interchange positions and create space for each other. Icardi’s more traditional poacher style may not be a perfect fit for this system, and it would be up to the coaching staff to find ways to integrate him effectively.
Ironically, it is clear that Pioli favours more mobile strikers and is setting the team up in this way (personnel in mind) Icardi is probably the closest like for like replacement for both Giroud and Zlatan.
Even still, Milan seemingly would want a young striker with that mobility and therefore, a player like Icardi seems a complete u-turn on this idea.
Combined with his attitude, issues and drama that comes with him (Wanda) unless he would be offered to Milan on an almost too good to refuse type deal, Milan might well steer clear.
In conclusion, Milan must be cautious and strategic in their approach to the transfer market as they seek to add heavy striker reinforcement to their attack next season.
The likes of Hojlund, Thuram, Balogun, David, Scamacca, and Icardi all possess unique qualities that could make them valuable assets to the Rossoneri.
However, Milan must carefully consider each player’s experience, potential, and any off-field issues before making a decision. By doing so, they can find the right player to help take their attack to the next level and push for silverware next season.