Vitiello: 57 goal contributions – Milan’s summer signings silencing the doubters

By Oliver Fisher -

There have been times during the current season that fans and sections of the media have questioned the signings that AC Milan made last summer, but the numbers now say otherwise.

Geoffrey Moncada and his team completed 10 signings during the summer mercato, with the likes of Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek arriving from Chelsea, plus Tijjani Reijnders, Yunus Musah, Noah Okafor and Luka Jovic among others.

Given that Stefano Pioli’s side find themselves so far behind Inter in the Scudetto race, some have jumped on the opportunity to call the operations a failure overall, despite the fact that the additions have been contributing fairly consistently.

As an example, the legendary former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi has criticised the business that Milan did on multiple occasions, claiming that the management signed ‘too many foreigners’ and not enough Italian players who know the league better.

As Antonio Vitiello writes during his editorial for MilanNews, Milan’s summer signings have actually racked up 57 goal contributions in 2023-24 so far, broken down into 40 goals and had 17 assists.

The goals: Pulisic 12, Loftus-Cheek 9, Jovic 8, Okafor 5, Reijnders 3, Chukwueze 3.

The assists: Pulisic 8, Okafor 2, Jovic 1, Loftus-Cheek 1, Chukwueze 1, Reijnders 3, Musah 1.

Sunday’s win over Verona was symbolic in many ways, given that Pulisic scored the opening goal after Okafor’s excellent work, then Chukwueze put the game to bed late on.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Milan isn’t so far behind inter this season because of too many foreign signings or too much overhaul, they are behind because their existing best players were playing like crap for better part of the season, plus of course the coach.
    New signings have been, for the most part, contributing since day 1.

  2. “Foreigners” was a reference to non-Serie A players. Statistics don’t tell the whole story. I could just as easily point out that Tonali alone had 10 assists last season while this season our entire midfield is at 6. I’m happy the new signings are doing better but let’s put things into perspective.
    1. We made a significant upgrade on the right wing with Pulisic, a young proven player with high-level experience, which maked life easier for the whole team.
    2. We improved our depth in attack with Jovic and Okafor but it is worth noting that Jovic was in Serie A last season. The other targets with Serie A experience recommended by Sacchi were Zapata who is doing great and Scammaca who is playing well but not scoring enough.
    3. The midfielders have improved but it’s too little too late. That’s the whole point about having to adapt to a new league.
    4. We improved our Serie A standing but keep in mind, compared to our main rivals, we are the only team to actually upgrade our squad. Juve and Napoli did nothing of note in the transfer market while Inter just replaced the players they lost (Onana, Lukaku, Dzeko, Brozovic, Skriniar). Yet, we were never in the title race.
    5. Another thing worth noting is we are now in the Europa League against lower level opposition. So the team should play better.
    In conclusion, a Europa League trophy would be nice but these signings were supposed to deliver the Scudetto, or at least fight for it, and reach the Champions League knockout stage. They failed to do so.

    1. I agree there were options in Seire A for strikers but none of them were of good value. Zapata is a good striker but he was injured a lot of times in his last season with Atalanta. I don’t think the management thought this was a good enough reason not to consider him but I would say it is. Scammaca isn’t doing well at all and his attitude wasn’t good when he was at his previous clubs. I think overall the summer was called living within your means.

      On being in the Europa League, I think it has been very competitive this season. There are a lot of strong teams in it and Milan has a good chance as long as Milan stays focused and doesn’t take it lightly.

      1. I just don’t like the general scoffing at Serie A players while taking a chance on unproven “foreigners”. We benefited a lot from Jovic and Gabbia’s familiarity with Serie A. Yes there was an injury risk attached to Scamacca and Zapata but both would have needed less time to adapt than Okafor and Chukwueze who themselves have fitness troubles. Having said that, I think we improved massively in the attacking department so I’m content with the recruitment there.
        My main issue though has always been with the midfield recruitment:
        1. Individual shortcomings aside, the three new players can’t function as a unit and Pioli has had to change tactics and their roles and other players’ roles to help them. Sometimes from match to match depending on who plays.
        2. If we sign a proper DM, two of Bennacer, Musah, Reijnders, RLC will be bench players next season. If we also sign an attacking midfielder, three of the aforementioned will be on the bench.
        3. As Maldini stated, the team was finally making money on the pitch. There was no financial NEED to sell Tonali. We could have kept him and signed two of the three new guys. So, considering his importance and age, I am of the opinion we should have kept Tonali even with the ban.

  3. Don’t know who called operation failure, it was never realistic to expect Scudetto with so many changes. I kept my reservation and honestly expected max 4th place and not 2nd. It’s not easy to blend 11 new foreign additions, let alone keeping them competitive through huge injury crisis. So this is where I give huge props to Pioli. Apart from CL debacle, he’s still in line with expectations. At least expectations managment presented in the media and to us.

    However, even though they managed to rack up 57 goal contributions, they also booked one of the worst defensive records in history of this club. And not on account of our defenders but this non functional midfield.

    They’ve bought bunch of mezzalas and no proper DM for 433 formation. It was destined to fail. After realising it won’t work Pioli in panic reverted back to 4231 but now with mezzalas acting as pivot holders. It still triggers my inner obsessive-compulsive disorder when seeing midfield line-up knowing it just won’t work that way. And this is where I blame Pioli, for his stubborness to stick and experiment with Krunic and Adli as our holding midfielders. Which was also destined to fail.

    1. On the DM part, I know that during the transfer market, the need for attack-minded midfielders was important given how bad the team was in being offensive from the midfield. So the club worked on getting those sorts of players, it was never the case that a DM was not needed. I believe the club knew they needed a DM but was going to rely on Krunic to do that job for the season as the budget wasn’t enough to include a DM. I think the management focused on players who can play in multiple positions to cover this shortcoming. Musha played as an anchor in a midfield 3 for the national team and he does a good job in that position. But the point is, and I agree with it that the team needed to keep Krunic for the entire season so that there was a player who knew how to play that position for this team. Selling him was a good and bad decision but it cannot be Pioli’s fault for all of this. He can ask what he wants but there is no guarantee that this management has the funds to meet all of them. The club needed a striker and bought Okafor to cover Leao and Giroud. Then their aim of bringing in the ST from Porto was almost done but there were issues and as such Jovic came in.

      I still think the team dropped the ball when considering that a striker a DM and cover for the fullbacks are still needed. So there are a lot of players still needed to compete. But second place and still being in the Europa League is good.

      1. Man you guys are on point today. I agree mostly. I think the new management team got good players, previously linked of course, that helped and then some not so much. It begs to question some decisions like having a couple subs being so expensive (Musah and Chuk) especially when the 433 relies so heavily on a proper DM and the money could have been put there instead. That’s probably the biggest gripe I had but no one gets everything right. The declarations to media just added more pressure than needed. It was way too naive

      2. Pioli did not need to change to 433 but he had some weird revelation and channelled his inner Guardiola or whatever and insisted on change. Should he stay with formation that brought us Scudetto, they wouldn’t need to spend so much on midfield additions.

        Anyway they did not address the key position and profile that was lost after Scudetto – Kessie. And that’s been hurting us through 22/23 and 23/24 campaigns.

        1. Why do you think it was Pioli and not management that made the choice of buying Chuk + Musah?

          Musah was bought for U.S. marketing and because he was U21 (aka good for lists and potential growth), though arguably at a premium price and high salary.
          Chuk was bought because he was considered cheap compared to the value that he was supposed to bring (aka right wingLeao). The idea was that if Chuk could deliver, we’d sell Leao for a lot more, shift Pulisic to the left side and have the same team strength. There is no explanation other than profit to spend that much money on salaries for two players in the same position, especially considering that we had backup players already in the team that we had to sell or loan.

          If we had bought a DM instead of Chuk, we’d need to look for a winger next season and after selling Leao that would mean the prices would be inflated. Also DM don’t increase in value as much as a winger.

          I also think Pioli+management got blindsided by Krunic. They thought that he’d be ok with his salary and they would sell him next year or keep him until his contract expired as the designated ’emergency player’. They didn’t want to offer a new contract to a player that they were planning to offload next year anyways.

          Well, if I was Krunic and I’d see all these new young guys being splashed with higher salaries than me, I’d be pissed too.

          Also Pioli has always said that his preference is for PL players, since players from LaLiga or other leagues need more time to adjust to Serie A (Moncada said the same thing for French players… so I guess opinions differ).

    2. Oh man, @Ted you’ve saved me the trouble. You’ve summed it perfectly! Massive props to Pioli for steadying the ship but he helped steer it off course by changing formation in the first place. The doubts mainly were the quantity of changes and it’s still true. The problem also was never the scoring, always the leaking which we still haven’t stopped.
      In terms of goals scored by the newbies, well we kinda changed two thirds of the mid/att. If we consider most of the goals to come from midfield and attack and we’ve changed like 4 out of those 6 – double pivot, RW and CAM (which I don’t think we’ve ever done except during Li era), I’m pretty sure I’d expect them to contribute about half the goals. That’s not a diss in case ppl get into a tizzy, that’s just simple math.

  4. Next season they will be more better because this is their 1st season play in serie A ( puli,chukwu,RLC,tiji,yunus,okafor) but ofc there is always failure too like pelegrino ( need to sell him next summer)

  5. The article is valid if and only if you consider Pulisic, RLC and Okafor as signings of THIS management. The deals for them along with Kamada and Thuram was verbally agreed long before this ‘management’ was even a consideration.

    1. Almost everything you just said is false.
      The article is valid either way , it’s about the summer signings, not about which “management” gets credit for them. Although if they were doing poorly I’m sure all you Maldini fanboys wouldn’t be trying to give him credit for the signings. In fact I clearly remember the same people criticizing all the signings of the “new management.” Now that they are doing well, they want to give all the credit to the old management.

    2. I like how you wrote Thuram instead of Arnautovic.
      Camada and Arnautovic were the players the previous management was going to sign not Thuram.
      Also, as reported by his agent, the old management also wanted to sign Zaniolo.
      I love how when Pulisic, RLC and Okafor play well and produce, they were old management’s targets, but when they don’t play well, Foolani and Moneyball Moncada get accused of signing Chelsea’s trash.

      1. LOL. Imagine where we’d be if we have Arna instead of Jovic, ZANIOLO(!!!) instead of Pulisic, Kamada instead of RLC. And should we add Renato Sanches too? Maybe instead of Reijnders.

        Yeah, does that sound like a team fighting for the 2nd place this season? 😀

  6. Pioli is the reason we didn’t sign a DM because he believed Krunic was a good fit and forced management to keep when we should have sold him in the summer.

    Pioli was also the one who for some bizarre reason decided to switch to a 433 only to change back to a 4231. Had we stuck with a 4231 our mercato would have been different.

    Pioli and his fitness staff are also the reason for all the muscular injuries we had. Without these injuries we would have been closer to inter on points.

    Also, losing to Inter in such a humiliating way showed that Pioli is not learning from his mistakes and he is always playing into Inzaghi hands.

    As for our mercato, the only failure is we didn’t get a proper striker and a defensive midfielder.

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