Serie A 2022/23 Season Preview and Predictions: Milan

Ahead of the start of the Serie A 2022/23 season, we preview Milan after their title-winning campaign last term and go through their pre-season form, transfers in and out, predicted line-up, one to watch and their season target. So, let’s take a look at Milan’s 2022/23 season preview and predictions.

A Look Back at the 2021/22 Season 

Milan secured their first Scudetto since 2010/11 when the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Thiago Silva and Gennaro Gattuso were at the Rossoneri. Not to forget, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic who helped Milan for a second time around here, winning his second Serie A league title with the club at the age of 40-years-old. The veteran battled through last season’s campaign with a severe knee injury and has undergone surgery this summer, meaning he could be out until the new year – the Swede’s presence will be felt regardless. Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao helped fire Milan to a club-record points tally of 86 and their form after Christmas was something to admire, losing just once and going unbeaten from mid-January, also beating Inter and Napoli in the process. 

Pre-season form: 

Marseille (A) W 0-2 (Goals; Messias, Giroud)

Wolfsberger (A) W 0-5 (Goals; Leao, Rebic, Messias, Adli, Gabbia)

Zalaegerszeg (A) L 3-2 (Goals; Giroud (P), Krunic)

FC Koln (A) W 1-2 (Goals; Giroud x2)

Transfers In: 

Charles De Ketelaere (att mid) Club Bruges; Junior Messias (winger) Crotone; Alessandro Florenzi (right-back) Roma; Divock Origi (forward) Liverpool 

Transfers Out: 

Franck Kessié (mid) Barcelona; Jens Petter Hauge (winger) Frankfurt; Leo Duarte (center-back) Basaksehir; Frank Tsadjout (forward) Cremonese; Alessandro Plizzari (gk) Pescara; Alessio Romagnoli (center-back) Lazio; Samu Castillejo (winger) Valencia; Leroy Abanda (left-back) RFC Seraing; Marco Frigerio (mid) Foffia; Gabriele Bellodi (centre-back) Olbia; Mattia Caldara (center-back) Spezia – on loan; Lorenzo Colombo (forward) Lecce – on loan; Daniel Maldini (att mid) Spezia – on loan; Riccardo Tonin; Luan Cpanni (forward) Estrela – on loan. 

Summary of Transfers

The biggest departure for champions Milan this summer has been Franck Kessié who has left on a free transfer to Barcelona upon the expiry of his contract. Kessié played an integral role in helping Milan to their first title in over a decade and he will be sorely missed by the Milan faithful. Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer both featured heavily in the league last season and are likely to fill the void left by Kessié. Tommaso Pobega is set to return to Milan following a loan spell at Torino last term and also offers depth. Matteo Gabbia could be in line for an increased role in the Milan defense this season with the departure of Alessio Romagnoli on a free to Lazio. However, Milan could look to the market for additional help at the back. Both Japhet Tanganga and Evan Ndicka have been linked as potential recruitments. 

Milan’s biggest addition so far has been Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge in a deal that could potentially be worth €36 million. He joins Pioli’s side after his most prolific season to date, scoring 14 goals and assisting eight in Belgium’s top flight last season. Divock Origi has also been acquired on a free transfer from Liverpool as he joins Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud in the Rossoneri’s array of sizeable forwards. Junior Messias has completed a permanent transfer to the Giuseppe Meazza and will be looking to kick on from his five goals and two assists in Serie A last term. 

First Five 2022/23 Serie A Fixtures:

Udinese (H)

Atalanta (A)

Bologna (H)

Sassuolo (A)

Inter (H)

Predicted line-up: 

(4-2-3-1) Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic; Olivier Giroud 

This is the most used line-up throughout pre-season so far but is of course subject to change. Simon Kjaer has just returned from a long-term knee injury and could see himself return to the starting line-up as a regular once he returns to full fitness. Gabbia is also another option here. Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez are the consensus first choice options at full-back but they have solid back-up choices in Alessandro Florenzi and Fodé Ballo-Touré. 

Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer seem to be the clear standouts to occupy the central midfield position this season. However, Pobega, Krunic and Tiemoué Bakayoko offer additional options here. 

De Ketelaere is yet to feature for Milan as of yet so it may be some time before he establishes a regular spot on the side. Ante Rebic is another option as a central forward and he could be deployed here instead of on the wing. Alexis Saelemaekers, Rafael Leao, De Ketelaere and Brahim Diaz are all options down the flanks and in the central attacking positions. Yacine Adli joined from Bordeaux last season and is also another option in attacking midfield. Giroud has led the line mostly so far but Origi has been injured during pre-season, so too has Ibrahimovic so options are limited in this department. 

One to Watch:

Charles De Ketelaere

Standing at 6ft 3in, 21-year-old De Ketelaere was a highly sought after prospect this summer with clubs such as Leeds United and Leicester City showing interest. Nonetheless, he was kept an eye on by most of Europe’s top sides but Milan secured his signature. De Ketelaere helped Club Bruges to their 18th title last season and his versatility across the front line certainly gives Pioli options. His technical ability and physical presence could certainly hit Serie A by storm. 

Season Target: 

Milan will of course be hoping they can retain their Serie A title but plenty of rivals have strengthened this summer. A title challenge will still be expected nonetheless.