The Athletic: Milan data team held Origi concerns but Maldini went ahead – the background

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s team of analysts were not convinced by the signing of Divock Origi but the decision was made by the directors to go through with it anyway.

That is according to James Horncastle, who in his latest piece for The Athletic talks about how Milan are trying to offload Origi after just one season as CEO Giorgio Furlani continues his mission to ‘correct the errors’ made last summer.

He writes that the club’s data team were ‘unsure about Origi’ when he was put forward to them as a potential signing, because of ‘the small sample size of minutes on which to judge his performance in recent years’.

Despite these concerns, the then-directors Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara ‘pushed the deal through anyway’ because they believed he was a ‘low risk’ signing due to it being a free transfer.

He cost nothing in transfer fee (but has a high salary) and has also ‘delivered next to nothing’ with just two goals in his debut season.

It was also known that the Belgian was ‘nursing an injury upon his arrival’ which did not help his integration, but the decision was made by Maldini and Massara to hand him a four-year deal.

Tags AC Milan Divock Origi


  1. “It was also known that the Belgian was ‘nursing an injury upon his arrival’ which did not help his integration, but the decision was made by Maldini and Massara to hand him a four-year deal.”

    The contract signing were already done before his last game with Liverpool when he got injured.

    1. So he sign contract before medical check up? If he really sign the contract before Liverpool season end… He really an A$$ and has no respect for liverpool…

      1. Kessie also signed Barcelona contract before Milan won scudetto. When the contract only has 6 months left, the player have that rights.

        Anyway, Klopp and Liverpool know it all along, that is why they gave him a farewell few games before the season ended.

  2. he said he want to go back to prem league but when west ham offered for him he rejected so milan should sell him at least for 12 million

  3. Maldini and Massara had to go. Not only did they mess up the team with Origi signing. They also drop the ball on signing CDK for 35m which is way overpriced for a player who wasn’t playing in a major European league.

    They passed on the opportunity to sign Enzo Fernandez and Kolo Muani who they could signed for cheap and free. They bolox up Kessie renewal and waited until the last minute instead of selling him after winning the scudetto.

    Instead of signing CDK they should have invested that money in signing Amrabat from Fiorentina to replace Kessie.

      1. So the Krack was before the scudetto? That means we might not see Leao explode that season if Kvara arrived or Kvara won’t explode instead. There is only one starting spot at LW.

    1. How do you sell, a player who is on an expiring contract after Winter window? Do you think, any dumb club would pay for a “soon to be a free agent”?

  4. Probably that’s why Maldini was sacked. Let’s not forget that there were rumors about the potential arrival of Kolo Muani, Enzo Fernandes, and Caicedo. Milan will certainly miss a legendary figure like Maldini but if he didn’t want to take note of the best scouting team it was the right decision.

      1. Here we go again the Maldini haters want to make up fake facts and rewrite history to suit their false narrative that every bad transfer decision was solely Maldini’s fault and all the good ones were Moncada. LOLOLOLOLOLO. How convenient.😂😂😂😂😂

        MOVE ON fellas

        1. Same thing with maldini fans who think he’s a saint and can do no wrong and pretend he didn’t fail big time at last season transfer market

  5. The article does not mention that Pioli described Origi as “the complete forward”. Dont put all the blame on M/M for this.

    1. That could have been Pioli toeing the line. He’s not the type of coach that would have outwardly contradicted his directors in the press.

  6. Origi is a hit or miss signing, he was crucial to Liverpool in cup competitions but let’s not forget his abysmal league record, netting less than 20 league goals throughout his time at Liverpool, hell Theo has a better league scoring record than Origi. At the end of the day it’s all about the player pulling his finger out of his butt and playing hard, which he never did during his cameos.

    1. He was crucial to Liverpool years ago. His form started to slide three seasons ago. I mean in the last seasons at Liverpool he had like 3 goals in the league. There were red flags about this player and Maldini failed to notice them.

      And to give him such a huge salary is another fail. The policy towards free agents should be a one year contract with option to extend to another year or two if there is success. In the end, we get stuck paying a huge salary no one else wants to pay.

      1. The last two seasons that is. He was in poor form for at least two seasons. It wasn’t a good idea to sign the player. And again this is on Maldini.

  7. I feel right now that with Maldini and Massara gone, and the transfer window seemingly going well so far, it became easier to make them scape goats for every bad signing/missed opportunity that happened, which is bad.

    1. The transfer window which only goes well because the money from Tonali’s sale. On the other hand, Maldini won’t sell Tonali and ended up with not enough budget to do well like this.

      They previously blammed CDK on Maldini, as it turn out, Moncada was highly involded both in scouting and in negotiation for signing CDK. The blame should be shared.

      Horncastle like to dig at the past instead of talking potential transfer.

      1. It is hard compete with 35m euro budget. Our bench are trash ,maybe if only compete in serie A that squad last season enough. Imagine if we dont sell tonali , we will end in 4231 that easy to predict, tonali – krunic or tonali – rlc as double pivot. CDK & kamada as AMF ( horrible for CDK ) , leao with rebic on LW , berardi & saladmaker on RW . Striker giroud ,arnautovic,origi . The tactic ? Just pass the ball to leao and hope he make magic. The bench still same rebic,origi,adili,pobega,cdk,arnautovic,saladmaker,florenzi,ballotoure. We cannot improving bench squad without selling tonali

        1. Thats what he is missing as director, he is too stubborn and naive to believe in the players agent who in the end leave him with nothing, what worse than that? Its happen 2 season in a row

          1. This is Tonali with long term contract, not player in last year of contract.

            In Maldini’s standard, Leao, Tonali, Maignan, and Theo are unsellable.

            In Cardinale’s standard, no one is unsellable, anyone can be sold with the right price even when they are under long term contract.

            They clashed on this so they part ways.

  8. Funny, the media are desperate trying to make him look all that bad and the only one responsible, while he remains quiet about whole situation til this day. This tells me enough.

    C’è solo un Capitano!

    1. He has been always pure class, that’s for sure.
      Such articles are so ridiculous, they are addressed to people who started following Milan just a year ago.

    2. The same media who are constantly demanding transfers, rave about every new signing including Origi, and who then turn on those very same new signings when they don’t work out, and the whole process starts again.

    3. I feel like Horncastle is Milan media PR. Remember when he shielded Milan when Tonali was sold? He directed the responsibility solely to Tonali.

      1. Dude just wants to have insider info so they buddy up with the club. It’s easy to see the slander. He already has good connections before, he doesn’t need to do this

  9. Well no need data team , even i as spectator already unconvinced with him in his first arrival . But the ship already sail, we are lucky if we can sell him now even for 1-2m euro transfer fee

  10. Maldini and Massara delivered 3 UCL qualifications after 7 years
    Maldini and Massara delivered 1 Scudetto after 11 years
    Maldini and Massara delivered an UCL semifinal place

    What more does the fans want from them??

    When you are buying cheap young players there are bound to be failures. They are not magicians to make all the transfers work.

    1. Third UCL qualification was achieved, because of Juventus docked points.. Had it not been for Juventus docked points, we would’ve been playing Europa League this season! I agree Maldini and Massara, perfectly assembled a winning squad, but they failed to keep it and upgrade it moving forward..

      1. The results are the results.

        Had Pioli not had the comfort of the points deduction he might not have rested the entire starting line up in those games where we dropped points to Cremonese, Empoli and Spezia.

        Also however we dress it up, it was our failure to beat these teams that cost us, and are we saying that Origi can score in the champions league and not against Cremonese?

        1. Even with docked points, before it was overturned, there was no guarantee that we were gonna finish in top four, especially with Roma in 5th.. He has seen, that rotated squad, was firing blank shots but he had to rest them because we were still in the Champions League..

          It was our failure, to beat them that cost us.. And Origi, is a part of that failure, he failed when called upon! Is that clear to you? Or, how is Origi an exception?

      2. juve wouldn’t had the squad to finish ahead of us last season if they didn’t financially CHEAT in building that squad.

        Don’t talk like a juve fan, you are Milan fan.

        1. I know right, but also it’s a hard pill to swallow that we are in the Champions League only because FIGC bailed us out.. I am not saying that, Juventus are innocent!

          This is not about Juventus squad quality, Even Lazio with a mediocre team finished above us! I was referring to agnellis mismanagement in my earlier comment.. “Juventus docked points”

        2. This is what people don’t get. If they don’t financially cheat, they may not be able to purchase Vlahovic for instance and that is like 10-15 points. The whole reason for docking points isnt because of some arbitrary punishment but something which equates to the advantage gained as a result of them cooking their books.
          Besides, even if we came fifth, we’re still in the champions league as UEFA’s own investigation banned them from competition anyways.
          Added to that the FIGC bottled the whole handling of the situation by docking the points mid season, have teams strategize based on that table, then reinstate the points only to dock it once more at the end..smh 🤦‍♂️ Those decisions have direct bearing on how a team strategizes. Pioli even said it himself, ie he hope for a definitive table asap

  11. Why reopen old wounds? Both sides had their say. There’s misinformation and characterisations abound which led to a divisive fan base on this site. You can convince one faction regardless of facts and vice versa. Don’t need to go back there. No director is perfect and even with the current signings there’s bound to be flops.

  12. hi Oliver Fisher,
    have you run out of writing material?

    in the last few months this blog has been pretty bad in the comment section by some people.

    did you deliberately write this article so that a lot of people would comment under it?
    or is it just the title that makes people click and open it?

    i used to like reading people’s opinions in the comments section, but now I only read the articles.

  13. This was already known to the people that didn’t have blinders on when it came to the work of Maldini and Massara.
    Getting rid of those 2 was the best move this summer.

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