CM: Three tactical solutions that suggest Zaniolo could be a good fit for Pioli’s Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are trying seriously for Nicolo Zaniolo and they can offer him any one of three roles to make him a big part of their plans, a report claims. report that Zaniolo was a target for Milan in the summer but the high demands saw them turn to Charles De Ketelaere, yet now the Italian forward is once again a concrete hypothesis for Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara given his contract situation and desire to try a new experience.

When fit – and he is on 17 appearances so far this season across all competitions – Zaniolo offers Pioli three solutions in his 4-2-3-1 system, a formation that the player himself has admitted he tends to prefer.

1. The most obvious fit is for Zaniolo to replace Junior Messias or Alexis Saelemaekers on the right wing, representing a tactical weapon similar to that of Rafael Leao on the opposite wing. He has power and explosiveness when attacking space in behind, plus size and the possibility of cutting onto his left foot.

2. Milan signed De Ketelaere as attacking midfielder, but Zaniolo could also be deployed by Pioli as a playmaker if needed, transforming his 4-2-3-1 into a 4-2-2-2 or even a 4-3-1-2 if Leao were absent (or partnered with Giroud). In short, the Belgian and the Italian could play together.

3. Finally, in the event of a selection emergency, Zaniolo could also be adapted as a striker, in the false nine role already done in the past by Ante Rebic. He did it in Roma, he could do it in the national team with Roberto Mancini too, and also with Milan.

Tags AC Milan Nicolo Zaniolo


  1. If we do sign him i believe 433 is the way to go.
    There are not many top teams that get away with 4 attackers, we are certainly not.
    We need more cover in midfield.

    So zaniolo should take RW and cdk can rotate with Giroud at striker with Leao on the left.
    At this point Rebic, diaz, messias, alexis and origi are barely back up material.

    1. I also believe Adili, Pobega, vranckx and krunic would be better suited to 3 man midfield.
      It may also be worth playing calabria as DM or even Kalulu.
      We have so many RB options we may find roles for them…. Kalulu, Calabria, Dest, Florenzi, Alexis all can play RB

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