Where AC Milan Need to Strengthen in the January Transfer Window
27.11 || webmaster
AC Milan lie in fourth place in Serie A after a late winner secured a 1-0 victory over Udinese at the weekend, with Gennaro Gattuso's side ahead of Lazio on goal difference but four points behind Napoli and Inter and ten points off runaway leaders Juventus.
If I Rossoneri are to secure Champions League qualification for the first time in six seasons – which is surely the aim of Leonardo, Maldini and the new American owners – then holding off the chasing pack may come down to whether or not investment is made in January.
Here’s a look at where Milan need to strengthen in the upcoming window:
Milan need to strengthen in the middle of the park, despite the arrival of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko on loan in the summer, with the Frenchman facing heavy criticism in the early part of the season due to a number of error-strewn performances.
With Lucas Biglia on the treatment table with a calf injury and Hakan Calhanoglu also sidelined, Bakayoko’s inclusion in the starting eleven alongside Franck Kessie emphasises what little depth AC have to challenge on multiple fronts and maintain a push for a top four finish. The problem however is that there will need to be a frugal approach to any additions to Gattuso’s side in the winter transfer window, given the financial mess the Americans have inherited from the previous owners and the sanctions imposed by UEFA for breaching financial fair play.
But there are economical solutions out there that can improve this squad. Cesc Fabregas is not getting game time at Chelsea and is reportedly keen on a move away from Stamford Bridge as a consequence, with the 31-year-old Spaniard potentially able to inject much-needed creativity into this midfield. Fabregas is out of contract at Chelsea next summer, so he will be available at a reduced rate in January otherwise he’ll be able to leave on a free in June.
Barcelona’s Denis Suarez is a viable alternative. The talented 24-year-old has not played a single minute in La Liga so far this term and his contract at the Nou Camp expires at the end of next season, so Milan may be able to hold the Catalans to ransom over the transfer fee for a player who clearly doesn’t feature in Ernesto Valverde’s plans.
A back-up striker
The injury sustained to Higuain at Udinese also highlighted the lack of depth Milan have in terms of attacking options, with Suso and Samu Castillejo becoming the focal point of the attack after the Argentinian was withdrawn in the first half, with Patrick Cutrone somewhat isolated.
Cutrone is a real asset to this side and blossoming into a world-class frontman, but his best work has been alongside HiguaIn in a 4-4-2 and with the extent of Higuain’s injury not fully known at this point, there is a glaring lack of options if he were to face an extended spell out at any point.
A short-term offer was made for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return to the San Siro in January, when he will be in the midst of his MLS off-season, but the bid was rejected and the Swedish striker has since ruled out a move.
The Rossoneri are currently a best-priced 6/5 with the best bookies offers for 2018 to finish in Serie A’s top four this season, but quite simply, strength in depth is what is needed throughout the side, while any recruitment will have to come on a budget.
Milan are also involved in the Europa League and are 25/1 outsiders to win the tournament, behind favorites Chelsea and Arsenal who are 5/1 and 7/1 respectively with bookies Betfred.
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