How Miranchuk Can Help Atalanta Reduce Reliance on Gomez

Atalanta secured the services of Aleksey Miranchuk from Lokomotiv Moscow, adding the attacking midfielder to reduce reliance on Alejandro Gomez.

Papu Gomez is an ever-present figure for La Dea. He is the gear that keeps Gasperini’s mechanics ticking. The pint-sized Argentine has not had time for a break and it showed as the 2019-20 season came to a close.

This is why Gian Piero Gasperini had to take him off after 59 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain. Until that point, Gomez was instrumental in their midfield and pulled the strings as Atalanta were cruising with a 1-0 lead. However, their efforts were undone by a late blitz from the Ligue 1 side. Gomez could do nothing but to nurse his knee in the stands.

Gasperini probably has learned his lesson and added to his ranks to reduce reliance on Gomez. After all, the Buenos Aires native will turn 33 when the 2020-21 season reaches the midway mark.

This is probably why the versatile tactician gave the go-ahead for Aleksey Miranchuk addition €14.5M from Lokomotiv Moscow. The Russian attacking midfielder will add another dimension to Atalanta’s attack, both with his creative skills and goal-scoring abilities.

Like Gomez, he prefers to play in the hole behind the forward but can also be deployed on the wings and as a central forward. Similar to the Argentine, Miranchuk is great at set-pieces and is a free-kick specialist. Miranchuk is a versatile addition to the Bergamo side, not only does he complement their system but adds value in different departments.

And just like Gomez, he has similar stats to boast off. The Argentina international has 62 goals and 77 assists in 305 Serie A appearances. His Russian counterpart has 32 goals and 30 assists in 178 Russian Premier League outings. To make it more interesting, he is just 24 years old.

But make no mistake, Miranchuk is the long term heir to Gomez in the Atalanta side. He is explosive with the ball at his feet but it is his ability to pick up a pass that gives credence to the statement before. He can be a perfect fit for the preferred 4-3-2-1 system and can slot either in Mario Pasalic’s place or alongside him.

This is because his passing range is impressive and can envision opportunities for those in front. Couple that with his goal threat and you have a worthy first-team challenger.

Miranchuk is a naturally left-footed player who is happy a little on the left side of the pitch. Moreover, he likes to cut-in to challenge the goalkeeper. Unlike Gomez, he is more trigger happy and will learn to rein in his preference for the extravagant.

Milan were also interested in his services but they eventually backed off as there are some question marks about his ability to adapt to Italy. Apart from the language and the customs, the Russian will have to adapt to Serie A and its technicalities. This is also the reason why Atalanta managed to secure Miranchuk below his market valuation.

It should not be expected that he will slot in the first-team from the get-go. Gasperini has his favorites and he likes to stick with them. Miranchuk will have to wait for his opportunities. He has the tough task of replacing a club captain and ease the transition when he eventually leaves in the next couple of years.

To his credit, at least on paper, Miranchuk has the statistics to back this transfer at Atalanta. Only time will tell if he is successful or not.