GdS: Zagadou, Thuram, Madueke and more – data companies suggest targets to Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

With more and more reports emerging suggesting that AC Milan have far from an unlimited budget this summer, the club have to be wise with every penny they spend.

La Gazzetta dello Sport writes how new owner Gerry Cardinale has often cited the use of ‘Moneyball’ made famous from the film and the revolutionary MLB General Manager Billy Beane while at the Oakland Athletics, who had a low budget but were able to build a team that made the play-offs against the odds.

“Billy Beane and I have the same vision of things. It is often said that to win you have to spend a lot of money, but why? I say that you have to be smarter than others and not sacrifice money. I believe in the Moneyball method,” he is cited as saying.

The paper writes that they reached out to five companies and gave them some information on Milan’s three main positions to strengthen and the characteristics they are looking for, with Driblab, Stats Perform and Wallabies taking on the challenge.

The first position is centre-back, and they told the data firms that they must find a young player (under 25), with a good physical build, who is strong in aerial duels, with good ability in build-up play that is under €35m.

Driblab’s algorithms lead to four players: Anel Ahmedhodzic (Bordeaux), Benoit Badiashile (Monaco), Dan Axel Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund) and Duje Caleta Car (Marseille, just over age).

Opta found on Zagadou, Badiashile, Evan N’Dicka (Eintracht Frankfurt) and Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal). Wallabies suggests Pau Torres (Villarreal), Nico Schlotterbeck (SC Freiburg, bought by Borussia Dortmund), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig) and Gabriel Magalhães.

Then, La Gazzetta asked for central midfielders who have similar characteristics to the outgoing Franck Kessie, given the need to replace the Ivorian.

Driblab suggested Ibrahim Sangaré of PSV, Khéphren Thuram of OGC Nice, Jerdy Schouten of Bologna and Davide Frattesi of Sassuolo. Stats Perform picked out Abdoulaye Doucouré of Everton, Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa and Bryan Cristante of Roma, who has actually been linked.

Wallabies identified Matheus Nunes (Sporting CP), Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United) and Youri Tielemans (Leicester City).

Finally, they asked the three firms to find a right winger who can also play as a central attacking midfielder, therefore a profile missing from Milan’s attack to be more complete and unpredictable. Only Driblab and Wallabies answered this task essentially for questions relating to the search criteria.

Driblab replied with Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Rayan Cherki (Lyon), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea). Wallabies instead proposed Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Tete (who recently moved from Shakhtar Donetsk to Lyon) and Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kiev).

Those just outside the parameters were Antony (Ajax), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen) and Marco Asensio (Real Madrid).

Tags AC Milan


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    1. Moneyballl is a book and a 2011 movie with brad pit playing the former baseball player and executive Billy Beane that took a different approach on how players was aquirred and to my slim knowledge of baseball kinda revolutionized how to act in the market.

      1. Not to give anyone any ammunition but the Oakland A’s failed to win the championship while using the Moneyball philosophy. They won many games but not the World Series.

        1. Yeah but they did get far with small ammount of money from what i recall and isnt that the general point of things that with the right approach even smaller or lesser equipped clubs might excel ? ive only seen the movie so that is where i know of it but i can imagine that the book is far more technical in its approach.

          1. Yes, from what I remember Liverpool tried something similar and won nothing until they spent money. 0 titles before big signings came. Also, some of those signings were Borini, Joe Allen and a few more players not worth mentioning. Titles came after Klopp told them they have to buy an 80M goalkeeper, a 75M defender, etc.

          2. Ultimately they did alot with very little and had success while generating comparatively little revenue even though they were unable to win the title. As crorossonero alluded to, I doubt very much a strictly analytical approach will/has translated well to football. Football has a far greater number of variables which are very difficult to account for in modeling whereas baseball at its foundation 8s a far more simplified game.

          3. crorossonero we have just won a scudetto and even if the ac milan model isnt straight out moneyball we proved we could win with less money than our closest competititors while downsizing on wages so that is in itself is a validation of that teams with less money but with a coherent team can win in the end.
            I agree that klopp has been instrumental to liverpools rebirth but by english standards liverpool isnt really a hugely spending club as their expenditure is far lower than a lot of the other epl teams in recent years. Pioli has been instrumental to our scudetto as well and desserves all the credit he can get.
            If it was only about having strong players then my international team denmark would never have won the euro 92 as we certainly didnt have the strongest squad, far from it. What we did have was a coherent squad where everybody knew their role and that is as important as having huge stars in my book, Look at man city and psg realistically speaking from the players they buys both clubs should have split the last 6-10 years between them wining every cl final but they cant even manage to win 1 between them.

          4. Honest Truth ok, i aknowledge my baseball knowledge is rather slim but from my viewpoint moneyball seems to have an resemblance to how for example rangnick/red bull approached their various clubs by emphasizing statistics and player stats on various aspects of the game.

          5. You can’t do that at top clubs. You can take a French Ligue 2 club and get him into the Ligue 1, you will never beat PSG with that. And City won the PL title enough times for it to be worth it. Anyway, if you have a good team already you buy 2 players for the positions we miss without selling anyone and you build on that. In that case you need 1 signing per season. But we have no AMC, our RW is mediocre and no backup for LB. + additional players necessary as obviously Maldini wants Sanchez and Botman. The only reasonable thing to do would be spend a bit now, get a team that can compete and go on from there. You do understand that Juventus will be much stronger next year, and if Inter brings back Lukaku along with a few other free signings they have already made, their team is much more complete.

          6. crorossonero even though we often disagree i do agree on what you are saying in regard of us both upgrading the team each season and currently should set our eyes foremost on a right wing and a cam role. As i also recently said i would expect us to at minimum spend around 100 mil + sales in this mercato which certainly would put us in a position to make some of those improvements. That view hasnt changed regardless of recent media speculations,

            Even though psg generally dominates ligue 1 as lyon did with less money in the 90ies and 00s they did end up second last season so i dont see it as an absolute. Psgs main goal is to win cl so im not so sure that al khelafi is necessarily happy about the end results of his investments.
            Juventus will have to pay 40 mil this year for chiesa and the next i believe its something alike for locatelli so they should have some limitations in the transfer window unless they start selling some of their players as well. Inter will have to sell one or several of their bigger names to propably get the lukako deal over the goal line so as things stands it will come at a cost for their squad so lets see how it actually developes before judging whether they are doing themselves a favour or not.

      2. As long as we follow Liverpool path , and don’t change coach every season , i think we can still finish top 4 ,just consider trophy as bonus. I already endure dark era berlusconi and Yong Hong li ( become AC Milan fans from 1990 ) ,this red bird era cannot more worst than dark time that our squad full of trash player like taiwo,constant,vergara,cerci,Destro,paletta and some unknown player that Galliani sign in 2012 to 2015, i even need to find their profile from google. I agree with you on not only strong team can won the title . Lille won ligue one beat PSG with just cheap player ,leicester win EPL title with squad 10 percent value from man city ,Chelsea,manc united

        1. Reccaman i fully agree with what you are saying and as you ive also been a long time fan as well so i recall all of those transfers you mentioned, what a way to start the day 😀 kidding aside keeping pioli will deffently be important to stay stable.

  1. Tsygankov please, I’ve always been surprised not to see more links with him.

    A lot of those player certainly don’t fit the criteria though. The likes of Bowen, Chukwaeze, Pau Torres, Tielemans and Bruno Guimaraes are so far out of Milan’s budgets it’s not funny.

    Hudson-Odoi on loan with an option would be very interesting, especially with how many wingers Chelsea have. He’d almost certainly rise in value with improved playing time and he needs it for his career.

    1. With such diminished budget from RedBird, yea that would be a nice deal. We might just steal Hudson Odio from Chelsea like we did with Tomori.
      Let’s get realistic, then get Dybala (free) and Renato Sanches and maybe Belotti… Any young prospect as vice Theo would be nice as well.

    1. I think they can afford them actually.
      It’s just the pointless waiting game the management keeps playing that’s worrying.
      It’s still hilarious that we missed out on Favrie. What a shame.

      1. Missed out on Faivre? It’s because, instead of letting the directors, work he wanted to force things himself.. Which didn’t work! Skipping training sessions and openly boasting in interviews..

        1. Welcome to the new era. Favrie trying to force a move isn’t out of the ordinary, we see that everyday and that doesn’t deny his talent and potentials.
          Point is, if we had Favrie now, we would have had one less problem.

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