The Rossoneri didn’t want to pay for Soriano and Witsel, leaving the Milan coach hungry. Instead, they preferred to buy the Slovak Juraj Kucka, a different kind of footballer.
Kucka’s move to Milan makes more sense than people think. In fact, the Slovak is that kind of player who is able to exceed expectations and produce. At 6-foot-1 and 86 kg, Kucka is tall and big enough to provide a strong, physical presence in the middle of the pitch.
His arrival to Milan went unnoticed, especially with Geoffrey Kondogbia joining Inter for €35m; neither does Kucka resemble Radja Nainggolan or Blaise Matuidi, but he is far from being a washout or merely an alternative for bigger names. The 28-year-old is a player with a huge potential who’s already shown he can contribute in Serie A, as he did last season at Genoa under the tutelage of Gasperini. He is versatile as he’s able to play in the middle of the midfield but also on the wings & in defence.
Slovakia national team coach Jan Kozak likes to use him as holding midfielder in order to give Napoli’s Marek Hamsik more freedom up front. As a defensive midfielder, Kucka is perhaps at his best, providing pace and tackling prowess. He’s also learned how score and quickly became a pivotal part of the Slovak team that’s looking for their 1st ever European Championships qualification.
With pressing high up the pitch being a key component of Mihajlovic’s tactics, Kucka can provide the needed strength and defensive acumen to help Milan’s midfield – the same midfield that was outplayed in the opener at Fiorentina and that underperformed against Empoli.
The fact that Milan brought on a defensive-oriented player like Kucka after months of rumors suggesting they were looking for a player with more offensive capabilities than him like Sampdoria’s Roberto Soriano or Zenit’s Axel Witsel left fans a bit perplexed but Milan couldn’t or didn’t want to spend a lot, and so the aforementioned options were simply taken off the table.
Whether a midfield featuring the likes of Keisuke Honda, Giacomo Bonaventura, Nigel de Jong, Andrea Bertolacci, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Nocerino and Kucka (among others) can make Milan competitive enough for a top 3 finish remains to be seen and the main question remains about creativity and Kucka can’t provide it.
With that said, in Kucka Milan found a player who is able to play as interior midfielder in Mihajlovic’s 4-3-1-2 and that could leave Bertolacci free to move high up top of the midfield diamond, a position that can suit the former Genoa player better, as he’d have less defensive responsibilities.
Kucka can be the athletic midfielder and provide some pace to the Milan midfield – a thing that is needed to become more complete in order to have this team take the next step.
Article by Michele Tossani
Announcement: Meytar Zeevi, who writes most of the posts on Rossoneriblog, will not be available for most of the time starting from Monday (07.09.2015) to mid-October for personal reasons. This will result in a drop in the amount of posts but you can feel free to engage in the Forums.