Versatility, quality and high IQ: Why Milan were determined to sign Mateusz Skoczylas

By SempreMilan -

One of the signings that AC Milan completed this summer that might go under the radar is that of Mateusz Skoczylas from Zaglebie Lubin in Poland.

The move was announced on Monday afternoon by the Milan Youth Sector Twitter account which confirmed that a deal had been struck with Zaglebie Lubin for the 16-year-old attacking midfielder.

Sporting CP had tried to make a late attempt to hijack the deal and bring him to Portugal rather than Milan, but the offer from the Rossoneri was attractive enough that the move has still gone ahead.

Why exactly did Milan pursue Skoczylas so aggressively? ScoutCalcio has taken a look at his style of play based on previous footage available, including from his time with the Polish youth national teams.

His strengths as a playmaker are his hold-up and link-up play, as well as his vision, dribbling, pace over long distances, agility, physicality, movement, positioning, work rate, aerial ability and – perhaps most importantly – his footballing IQ.

When he plays as a striker, Skoczylas loves to drop deep to pull a defender with him. In the clip below he receives the ball under pressure, he uses his hold-up play to then dribble past the opposition while his team-mates move up into space.

He doesn’t always do this just to receive the ball and use his hold up play, he also likes to drop deep and pull the defender out of the last line, to give space to a fast winger.

When he does drop deep and the defender doesn’t follow him, he can use his vision and playmaking skills to find the best passing option and even do a long vertical pass to the other wing.

Like a false nine he not only likes to drop deep but also loves to move to the wings and use his pace and dribbling to attack from the wings. From there, he can either cut inside and try to finish himself, or to move wide and put in a cross for his team-mates.

He is equally good with his left (favoured) and his right foot which means he does not restrict himself to which wing he prefers to move in. The Pole likes to move all over the attack and than set his team-mates up with crosses, something he can still improve.

Thanks to being both-footed, he not only can drop deep and attack/set his team-mates up with Crosses from both wings, but also can cut inside from both flanks to finish himself as seen when he is on the left and firing with his ‘weak’ right foot.

Skoczylas has a high work rate and presses a lot during the game to win the ball back. Here in this clip he presses the receiving opponent and wins the ball back, then uses his dribbling and pace to cut inside and finish with his left.

Thanks to his great understanding of positioning and movement he is also dangerous in aerial duels both offensively and defensively. He knows exactly how to move and position himself to get the best possible header on goal.

His dribbling in tight spaces is one of Skoczylas’ best assets. Whenever a defender pressures him from behind, the teenager likes to do a quick roulette. Thanks to him also being very agile, he often gets fouled while dribbling, which wins a lot of free-kicks.

In the next video he shows his high IQ and anticipation. Skoczylas knows the defender following him will tackle him and knows he could lose the ball so he ancitipates his full-back doing an underlapping run and finds him with a smart back heel pass.

Below you can see Skoczylas’s pace and thanks to his quick feet he can do a cut-back which leaves the defender on the wrong foot, and he ends up with enough space to take a shot.

Mateusz has a high work rate off the ball. He presses the opposition and tackles them often to win the ball – like he does in the clip below – which starts a counter-attack that he doesn’t give up on and ends up scoring from.

He has raw pace and is very physical in duels, but also you can see something he has to improve on. Sometimes when he enters the box he moves a bit to hectic which makes the ball bounce off his feet.

Overall, Skoczylas is a great talent who makes his team-mates around him look even better cause he can play right to their strengths without sacrificing his own.

He is a hard worker too, so Ignazio Abate will welcome yet another young but exciting attacking player who could take the team to the next level.

Tags AC Milan Mateusz Skoczylas


  1. If we’re serious about developing him we’d stop signing players in his position.

    Unfortunately AM, like all attacking positions, is particularly popular in transfer windows because the media love it so the fans love it so directors keep signing attackers to the media and fans “entertained”, plus attackers tend to feed egos more.

    We signed two AMs last summer (Adli and CDK) and broke both of them as well as ending Daniel Maldini’s career at Milan.

    I can’t see a future for this guy or any guy. There isn’t the long term planning necessary for these players to stand a chance.

    1. Adili are not AMF , he is CmF . We try CDK on AMF but he cannot adapt for that position after 1480 minute just one asist without goal . This 16 years kid still in primavera but he can rise 2-3 years later and take AMF spot

      1. Positions are irrelevant.

        Nicky Butt, Ambrosini and Sturaro used to cover across the midfields of the successful Man Utd, Milan and Juve sides respectively.

        It’s about players being backed 100% which only happens if clubs stop fiddling on the transfer market, reduce the squad sizes and give players time.

        And since none of that is likely to change, these players will never get anywhere.

  2. Reminds me of Martin Odegaard. Labelled as wonderkid but never really given an opportunity at Madrid. Now, he explodes at Arsenal.
    Hope we treat him better.

    1. He might join the main squad in 3-4 years. By that time Pioli will be long gone so I hope we replace him with a manager known to develop young prospects. This guy, the other polish midfielder, Cuenca, Camarda can develop.

  3. So we already have a bunch of AMC wonderkids at Primavera like : Mateusz Skocylas, Hugo Cuenca, Dariusz Stalmach.
    But the senior team didn’t use AMC anymore.

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