SM Exclusive: Torino insider lifts the lid on Meite – playing style, strengths, weakness and potential

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan welcomed their first recruit of the winter mercato on Friday night as Soualiho Meite joined on loan with an option to buy from Torino.

Despite the fact he has been in Serie A for over two years now, he arrives as somewhat of an unknown quantity to many fans given that he has been plying his trade in a team that has struggled a bit in that time.

We spoke to Matteo Pedrosi of the Corriere Granata to get the low-down on what we can expect from Meite, while you can also read our player analysis here.

Could you please give a brief assessment of the type of player we are getting and what positives he can offer?

“If we make a technical-tactical consideration, I think Meité is a useful reinforcement for Milan, I think he can be functional to Pioli’s way of playing, he can represent a valid alternative to Kessié, but he could also play alongside him if needed,” Pedrosi told us.

“He has the advantage of being a modern midfielder, with good technique, physical strength, good control and dominance (or coverage) of the ball. But he also has defects: he is inconsistent, he does not always play concentrated (some of his lapses have been fatal), sometimes he tends to overdo it when he has the ball between his feet, sometimes he sins in excessive affectation and in this he has not improved since his arrival at Torino.

“He has important numbers, precisely because he has a good technical quality and control, but sometimes he unnecessarily exceeds in dribbling, rarely affecting the finishing. Some statistics I have read are likely to be misleading if extrapolated individually.

“However, I repeat, his task at Milan will be different, so I believe he can be useful to the cause. In Giampaolo’s Torino he did not perform because he was employed in a role that was not congenial to him: for the reasons I listed above I do not think he is a mezzala, he does not fit in continuously, he rarely shoots and he is not a man to make the last pass. He had some decisive assists but did not have consistency.”

Do you think that he has the potential to get better or is he already at his maximum at the moment?

“When he was bought from Monaco and after his first exciting performances in the Granata shirt, I believed I had before my eyes a player with great unexpressed potential. Two and a half years later I can tell you that I have not seen great improvements, despite the fact that the Serie A is, by all accounts, one of the most tactical.

“But he is a player who knows how to thrive when things go well and Milan are a machine that works very well at the moment. If we add that he will be employed in his role, he will probably be able to settle in well and perform at his best, especially in the first months. Il Toro also started very well with Mazzarri, in the recent best edition of Torino.”

What’s his best role? Is he more of a ball-winner, an anchor-type or a playmaker? Or maybe box-to-box?

“Yes, he is certainly more of a 6 than an 8, although he does not have the skills of a pure defensive midfield, but not even the times of the classic play.

“He has different characteristics than the other Milan midfielders, so I would see him well both paired with Bennacer and with Kessié. Perhaps a little less the combination with Tonali, but the former Brescia man is growing and in the future I think he will be able to be more incisive.”

Tags AC Milan Soualiho Meite