Milan searching for midfield solidarity – here are five options

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MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 17:  Mario Suarez of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 17, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Mario Suarez celebrates scoring during the Champions League round of 16 match between Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 17, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Following on from the ‘forwards’ instalment of this series, I feel it is time to address some of the midfield rumours that have been circulating regarding new signings.

The midfield this season has been very chop and change, with players playing across the midfield three in different combinations. The general consensus among the Rossoneri supporters is that Bonaventura does not work in a midfield three, and also that players such as Honda are more suited to a central attacking midfield role.

Meanwhile, we have the potential departure of Nigel de Jong to think about. Developments in the last days suggest he now may be open to signing a new contract, something that could indicate his confidence in the project being built, or perhaps he has heard Manchester United will not be coming in to swoop him. Either way, it would be naive to assume he will be a Milan player next season until he puts pen to paper.

So, with all that being said, here are five targets ranging from the realistic to the dream, but all should be subject to interest in the upcoming Mercato. For this, I will be looking at how the various players would slot in to the systems of Carlo Ancelotti (4-3-3) and Unai Emery (4-2-3-1), both of whom are heavily linked with the Milan job at the time of writing.


Andrea Bertolacci of Genoa celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Genoa CFC  at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 29, 2015 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Andrea Bertolacci of Genoa celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Genoa CFC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 29, 2015 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

1) Andrea Bertolacci

A possible deal for Bertolacci, currently co-owned by Roma and Genoa, keeps fluctuating between likely and unlikely. It appears every time Milan step up interest, Roma do too, threatening to buy out the remaining half of his contract.

In 86 games for Genoa since 2012 he has bagged 12 goals, playing mostly in an attacking midfield role. His versatility is a nice asset, as he can play anywhere between a deeper central midfield role and a shadow striker, and his eye for goal makes Andrea a hot property.

With superb striking technique, a tidy first touch and an ability to spearhead attacking movements, he could be exactly the sort of player Milan need to be the catalyst for the midfield.

Under a Carlo Ancelotti system, he would likely play as the most forward out of a midfield three due to his danger in the centre of the park. He would perhaps be more suited to Unai Emery’s 4-2-3-1 system, however, as he could slot in just behind the striker which reduces his defensive workload.

Bertolacci would be a nice player to acquire, but it will prove difficult as Roma will seek to make negotiations awkward.


Keisuke Honda of AC Milan and Daniele Baselli of Atalanta BC #18 compete for the ball during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on May 11, 2014 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Keisuke Honda of AC Milan and Daniele Baselli of Atalanta BC #18 compete for the ball during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on May 11, 2014 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

2) Daniele Baselli

Another talented young player is Baselli of Atalanta. At just 23 years old he has already attracted interest from plenty of teams, and if rumours are true then Milan could be planning a bid for him.

A confident player, he has drawn comparisons to Pirlo and Montolivo, two players he claims he tries to be like when playing his game. With an eye to push up the field and carve out attacks, he is a similarly dangerous player in open play with lots of talent from dead ball situations.

Baselli can play across a midfield three, but recently has been playing on the left side of a trio, and with players such as Cigriani and Migliaccio tucked in behind, it has provided him with the freedom to push up field and influence play.

A player such as Baselli is probably more suited to the Ancelotti system on the left of a midfield three, with two midfielders to his right that will provide sufficient defensive cover. On the other hand, in a 4-2-3-1 it is difficult to imagine him adopting a role as part of a defensive midfield duo because of his attacking work rate, but he probably doesn’t have the production to play in the attacking midfield role.

Atalanta will be well aware they have a future star on their hands, and the fee that they demand will most likely reflect this. However, with the right coaching, Daniele could become an anchor of the midfield for years to come.


Roberto Soriano of UC Sampdoria celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and UC Sampdoria  at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 12, 2015 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Roberto Soriano of UC Sampdoria celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 12, 2015 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

3) Roberto Soriano

Another superb young player that Milan have been linked with, although not seriously, is Sampdoria man Soriano.

Anyone who follows the Serie A knows there is a wealth of good reasons Milan should be targeting players such as this, and the Italy international will have lots of interest this mercato for sure.

Soriano has pretty much the whole package: a great eye for a pass, good work rate, not frightened to get stuck in, great shooting and dribbling technique, and versatility. With four goals this season in Serie A and five goals last year, he will contribute every now and again with offensive production including assists.

His all-round skill set makes him perfectly suited to play in a midfield three in a 4-3-3, either on the right side or in the middle with sufficient cover. In a 4-2-3-1, he could occupy the right sided defensive midfield role if his defensive ability improves.

At just 23 years old, the Darmstadt-born man has a great future and Sampdoria will be very reluctant to let him go, but it is definitely worth an enquiry as he would be a marvellous additions.


 Mario Suarez of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal with Jesus Gamez of Atletico Madrid (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 17, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Mario Suarez of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal with Jesus Gamez of Atletico Madrid (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 17, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

4) Mario Suárez

A few days ago, Mario would not have even been on this list, yet reports are emerging that Galliani has made Suárez a target for the mercato, meeting his agent to talk about a deal.

Despite the fact you do not hear his name mentioned much, Mario Suárez is actually a good defensive midfielder, and having been at Atletico Madrid since 2010 it is understandable he may want a change of scenery. Part of the Europa League, La Liga, Supercopa and Copa del Rey winning sides, as well as the Champions League runners up, Suárez is struggling for consistent game time, making just 19 appearances this year.

If Simone has indeed deemed him surplus to requirements, Galliani may be swooping for a de Jong replacement at a cut price. Nevertheless, his tackling ability and experience playing at the highest levels would be a great use to Milan, but I know most would rather have NDJ.

There may be a situation where De Jong and Suárez could occupy the deeper roles in a 4-2-3-1, which would allow a very attacking number 10. In a 4-3-3, you would imagine he would be slightly deeper and in the middle, which would be perfect for players like Soriano and Baselli to occupy the left and right.

An underrated player, Mario Suárez could be a great addition at the right price, and the indications are that he is available so it will be interesting to see how this develops.


Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Marco Verratti reacts after the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou unior stadium in Barcelona on April 21, 2015. Barcelona won 2-0 and get qualified for the semis. (LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti reacts after the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou unior stadium in Barcelona on April 21, 2015. Barcelona won 2-0 and get qualified for the semis. (LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

5) Marco Verratti

Ranging from the realistic to the dream, we finish with the dream in one of the best and most promising midfielders in world football.

At just 22 years of age, he has established himself as one of the most consistent producers for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, being named as a team of the year candidate. Juventus, Arsenal and Bayern Munich have all expressed serious interest, and consequently you feel that a signing of this magnitude depends on what coach we recruit.

PSG will not let their man go cheaply, and for good reason, as there is no end to the talent that Verratti possesses. Amazing vision allows him to dictate play and anticipate key phases of the game, while his ability to pick a pass and intercept moves allows him to sit in the deep-lying playmaker role. Composed on the ball, the majority of his passes are forward, indicating how Marco likes to move the game forward and dictate the tempo.

This really would be a major coup, and really it is only worth even discussing if Carlo Ancelotti is in charge of Milan next season. In the 4-3-3 he could play anywhere, but would likely be in the middle sat slightly deeper, and he would completely transform the midfield for the Rossoneri.

For a player of his quality, you wouldn’t get much change from €40million, however if there is over €100million to spend like speculation suggests, I would make Marco a primary target.

So, those are the five players that I think Milan should and probably are taking a look at. Special mentions also go to Jose Mauri, who apparently has almost joined already, and players like Kondogbia and Isco, who may feature in a future issue.

What are your thoughts? Who should be the main priority, and is adding to the midfield important in the upcoming market?

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Valent

I would rather extending NDJ’s contract first, then search for future suitable replacement, so I assume Suárez doesn’t fit the requirement as he will be 28 years old this year. Krychowiak from Sevilla or maximizing Mauri’s talent would be the best solution.

Then, Milan could focus to add more depth in central attacking options who is capable of sit deeper in the midfield and play more forward if needed. Verratti or Isco would be a dream come true. Either Soriano, Bertolacci or Baselli would be more realistic, but my choice is Bertolacci.

Maldini

If de Jong signs the contract then we should go with jose mauri and verrati… But seeing our uncle fester I think we will end up with boateng and Suarez….

Carlo Gambino

Comment: if the speculations are true that milan is willing to invest €120m then my most favoured players are: marco veratti, javier pastore, samir nassir, gokhan inler,mario suarez,gundoghan,edin dzeko,doria and any quality european defender probably an italian.(2 strikers/2 midfielders(offensive/defensive) 2 central defenders). With any of the 5-6 players above milan will be surely be heading to the right direction of been great again. But my only doubt is the blind demented fools who have run milan down be able to visualize this……………hmmmm that’s €120m rossoneri mystery?

Mojdanis

I would prefer Emery and his 4-2-3-1. Than perfect player would be Verratti and keeping De Jong, signing of Basseli and keeping Mastalli for first team .Bertolacci is not part of this list i feel. If we get this guy he moves to forwards and with Emery he could get a lot of minutes. Well lets be patient and wait to see what is gonna happen.
Forza Milan!

dejan10

Agreed. Emery’s my man too.

amal

RASMUS ELM is a good option…we will get him cheaply

C (SWE)

Hell no i am Swedish i dont like him at all he has a bad physique

vusi22

We should consider the defensive quality of Aymeric Laporte at Ac Milan and some creative mastermind like Roberto Firmino in midfield.

ardi

Veratti, Bertolaci and Tufan,
Are players that i Will like to se with milan shirt
i don’t think we can get veratti, but Bertolaci and Tufan Will still make me happy as we all reddy got Mauri,
As for a striker i Will like to se Berardi in milan shirt.. 🙂

Bonera = Ambassado of AC Milan

YOU WISH !! Only the best talent Italy has to offer plays for Juventus only !

C (SWE)

I hope Uncle Fester can change Ancelotti’s mind and bring him Verratti Baselli Mandzukic Laporte Darmian Jose Mauri Cuadrado and buy out Bocchetti as replacement for Bonera bring back Niang and extend De Jong’s contract maybe consider buying Belotti and Robin Quaison the Swede from Palermo he has impressed in serie a this season

Pa ibra

van ginkel, montolivo, VERRATTI, honda, bonaventura, poli, modic should be good for next season. therefore one BIG addition in midfield might be enough. its clear we cant change the whole squad, so we need to concentrate on the obvious ones like muntari, birsa, zaccardo and try to minimize the risk of having them again by starting to purchasing quality ONLY, even just two arrivals every year and gradually replace the less good ones.
I will be happy with marquinhos/nastacic, verratti, konoplyanka for the summer.

Papito

I know he’s a winger but I think Dnipro’s konyplanka would be a nice addition to the squad. And he’s available for free!

Weeee

Free! Did you hear THAT, Galliani? Free transfer!

nas

Where is the figure of 150m coming from? Has everyone already forgotten that this is the club which allowed a player to use 500,000 of his OWN money to join only a few years ago? We’ve been in free fall for years now so why all of a sudden is the likes of 150 million been talked about?? Don’t hold your breath waiting for any 30/40 million valued players to arrive anytime soon We’ve been let down over and over again and couldn’t even sign a Fulham reject for 5 million this time last year so why on earth do… Read more »

Ted

It’s election year and Berlusconi needs to buy himself some votes. He may be willing to splash the cash now but when he falls at elections, Milan falls too so again we’ll witness the mass exodus of high profiles and welcome bosman transfers again. Sad reality of this clubs politics…

nas

I hope your right but Ancelotti doesn’t seem all that keen! But like you say 150 million changes minds!! Wouldn’t it be great to just start competing again though and being able to get excited about bringing new players in which are top class? I remember Papan, Whea, Nesta, Cafu, Jaap Stam, Sheva to name but a few coming through the doors, players of real quality and stature ready to do anything it takes to win, but for years we’ve either sold our best players or bought Shit ones to replace the old guard and that’s why I can’t see… Read more »

Eighteen99

Nail in the head, well said!

Varun

I agree with Nas. It would be foolish on our part to assume we have over a 100 million in transfer budget. And start fitting players like Verrati into our midfield system. Ever wondered why PSG would let go of him. Even if they wanted to sell him they would offer him to a club that will pay top dollar. However, I am optimistic like every other fan here. Hopefully we won’t end up with “leftovers” from the transfer market like last season (and seasons before).

Shams

Verrati is the only player who is of Milan calibre

dejan10

Thank you! Finally someone says it. I don’t get why everyone’s getting so excited about the guys on this list. We’re supposed to be AC Milan people.

Eighteen99

I agree, top quality players only! Milan has dropped its standards on who to sign lately and that is one of the resons for the misearable season(s) we have been having

rosso138

Honestly, I think that bonaventura is a great player, he is still young has time to learn, and he shat a tear when coming to Milan… I would keep that kind of player ANY day. Yes, he doesent work well in midfield trio, but if we would have 4321 or 4411 or even 4312 he would be better, i think that if played properly, jack, honda and de jong would be killing midfield… And if we add one more creative and already good player (experienced) like veratti and isco we could have very good midfield… De jong – gattuso, veratti… Read more »

will

Wijnaldum axel witsel Mario Suarez tiago silva lacazette game over serie a we own it

Ted

Van Ginkel, Adam Maher, Tonny Vilhena, Jordy Clasie, Geoffery Kondogbia, Clement Grenier, Adrien Rabiot, Gianelli Imbula, Lucas Romero, Jose Mauri

My consideration list for “promised” summer overhaul of midfield

Eighteen99

No Oliver, these are not the ind to bring Milan back to European & domestic glory. Except for Verratti, i see no one on the list worthy to wear those black and red stripes. #Weareacmilan not just any the club in the serie A.

Ted

So who u want to see in Milan jersey that is worthy? Fantastic 4? Get real man, we need a team built from solid and young foundations, we need a TEAM not overpayed egoistic primadonas. Look at Real Madrid, they spent billions in last few years and what did that get them – one domestic and one European cup in more than a decade. Bollocks!

Only Players like Bonera, Abbiati, Constant, N’Gotty. Bogaarde, Taibi and Matri are worthy of playing for MIlan !!

Lucas

If De Jong leaves get Baselli. We need to fix the defense too. Verratti would be awesome but i dont see how he would come as we are not in the champions league. I hope Van Ginkel stays and hopefully we actually sign him permanently. Hes really grown in the midfield the last few games and can make a difference for our future midfield.

Oliver, what do you think of the report saying that Berlusconi rejected Emery among others? That would be a horrible idea imo.

steve

I think suarez or mbia would be very nice replacement players if ndj leaves.Verrati is my “love” but i don’t think its a possible transfer.First time i see players of eredivisie mentioned here and i totally agree.Maher and vilhena are very talented players,i prefer them from basseli or bertolacci.The player we really need though i think its pastore!His quality and imagination will help the cf very much and generally teams game.

IrvMFCoate

Get Thiago Alcantara Roberto Firmino along with Prince!!!!
Vietto and Gabigol even Chicharito as forwards
JM gimenez and Sokratis or Godin in the back

Giuseppe

If we had 120€ to spend

In:
Alex Song/Geoffrey Kondogbia- defensive mid
Mateja Nastasic/Samuel Umtiti- cb
Baselli + Bertolacci- midfield
Nabil Fekir + Romelu Lukaku – strikers

Out:
Bonera, Mexes, nocerino,matri, essien, muntari, pazzini,

Keep:
Menez, El Sharaawy, Niang, Saponara, Van Ginkel, Abate, De Sciglio, Poli, De Jong, Bonaventura, Montolivo

phildadon86

Lukaku? Never happen

Valent

Montolivo needs to leave. He has been nothing but burden and has been plagued by injuries.

JaRossoneri

Out of those in the article I would welcome Verratti or Baselli as competition for MVG, Monti, Mauri and Mastalli, but none of them can fill NDJ’s role, plus Verratti is unlikely… I’m desperate to see us switch to a 4-2-3-1, but if we continue with a 4-3-3 we have to replace Nigel. Other than that, Baselli, MVG, Monti, Mauri, and Mastalli, competing for 2, rather than 3 spots, if judged fairly, should reap good rewards. Whoever wins that competition would have to be performing at a high level… My concern is Monti…Im of the opinion that he has underperformed… Read more »

rossonero gh

Comment:konoplyanka,konoplyanka,konoplyanka=dede ayew=bacca=matic=isco=oscar

Olalekan mojeed

With all the comment evry one have,after getting all dis player metion,should we disposed all our primaver prayer.to other club

amal

y is’nt gabreils market value increasing….

Alex

I we are talking about spending all this money, what about the youth we have been waiting so long to see play.

amal

i think if anceloti comes….he will use honda in midfield three…look at madrid…they used attacking players in midfield three…

Milanista121

I think Soriano is a one hit wonder. And he will probably join Napoli, Mihajlovic seems set to take over and will probably take him with him. In my eyes, he is above average, so is all the players on the list. The only one I would take without a single doubt in my mind is Verratti. Baselli seems talented but, I havent seen all too much to see what the hype is all about… Would prefer focusing on our Primavera players. Bertolacci… He has had a great season, but i dont know if he is suited for a big… Read more »

asy

GK-D.Lopez, Agazzi
DC-RUGANI/ROMAGNOLI/OGBONNA, Rami, Paletta, R.Ely
DL-Antonelli, DANILO AVELAR
DR-Abate, de Sciglio
MC-Bonaventura, KONDOGBIA, Montolivo
v.GINKEL/BERTOLACCI/SORIANO, Poli, J.MAURI
AM-El Shaarawy, Honda, NIANG, Suso
SC-J.MARTINEZ/MANDZUKIC/DZEKO, Pazzini

433 formations.
incoming transfers in capital letters.
the rest should leave
any injury/ban should be replaced by PRIMAVERA players

micheal

I thinks the rossoneri should bid for verrati and soriano

Fernando

I just wonder why you think about Verratti and forget the likes of Kevin de Bruyne (Wolfsburg) or Yannick Carrasco (AS Monaco)… Those two would really improve our squad for the same amount of money. Konoplyanka (ex-Dnipro, free transfer), Loïc Rémy (Chelsea), Bernardo Silva (AS Monaco), Nabil Fekir and Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyonnais), Lucas Digne and Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke 04) and Adriano (FC Barcelona) are also players that would help us to take our club to the next level. I know some of those would be expensive, but buying two or three… Read more »