How Might Jeff Hendrick Fit Into Milan Lineup Next Season?

Jeff Hendrick is officially a free agent after running to the end of his Burnley contract this week. As speculation mounts surrounding his move to Milan, we look at how he might eventually fit into Stefano Pioli’s side.

The 28-year-old has spent the last four seasons with Burnley. Previously with Derby County, Hendrick had become one of his side’s most consistent and creative performers. The last two seasons have seen Hendrick become a real Premier League quality player, and fans will be sad to see him leave on a free.

But a new chapter looks to be on the horizon for Hendrick. Milan were linked with a move for the midfielder earlier in the month, but now with Hendrick officially leaving Turf Moor and becoming a free agent, those rumors have quickly heated up. Roma were also in the running for Hendrick, but Milan now look the most poised to sign him.

So how might the Irish international fit into Stefano Pioli’s Milan? Well, the first thing to note is that next season, Milan will likely be managed by Ralf Rangnick. The former RB Leipzig boss is set to be announced as the new Rossoneri boss next month, and he’s already been eyeing up some potential signings with an alleged 80M euro budget.

Hendrick’s arrival then will likely be run past Rangnick as well, but depending on who he signs in the summer, it could leave Hendrick as more of a back-up player. Milan have been linked with some more attacking summer signings – Florian Thauvin, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Memphis Depay to name a few of the previously linked names – and that might mean that Hendrick is needed more defensively.

He showed at Burnley that he can play as both an attacking-minded midfielder, but a more defensive one as well. Milan currently play a common 4-2-3-1 formation and it’s hard to see Rangnick making too many drastic changes to a side that’s currently performing, so expect Hendrick to be one of the “2” the next season.

In the holding two, Franck Kessié and Ismael Bennacer have been the preferred two since the restart. Both players have had strong seasons for Milan and at young ages, the more experienced Hendrick could be left on the bench in favor of their progression next season. Coming to an already young side then, and one that Rangnick is hoping to bring about even more young, home-bred players, Hendrick may yet find himself a squad player at the San Siro.

That being said, Hendrick’s experience might be preferred in certain situations, so his role in next season’s Milan side may well be a flexible one. A gifted player no doubt, and someone who will better this Milan side, Hendrick’s fortunes with the Rossoneri are very much in his own hands. If he can have an impressive pre-season, then he could well be a key feature for Milan next year.