Transfer Market Roundup: Are Milan Stronger or Weaker Than Last Season?

With a new crew in charge and several gaps to plug, this was bound to be a busy summer transfer market for Milan. But even Geoffrey Moncada wouldn’t have envisioned embarking on such a frenzy spending spree.

Nevertheless, the controversial and saddening departure of Sandro Tonali unlocked the club’s Mercato. Though the Rossoneri faithful bid their beloved midfielder farewell with a heavy heart, little by little, they began to understand the reasoning behind this devastating divorce.

With an extra 70 million euros in the basket, the management went on to sign a host of newcomers with vast potential, with the aim of boosting Stefano Pioli’s ranks in terms of quality and depth.

So did Milan succeed in their quest and emerge out from the transfer market as a stronger team than last season? Let’s run a comparison based on every department before we reach a final conclusion.


In: Marco Sportiello

Out: Ciprian Tatarusanu

Last season, Ciprian Tatarusanu had endured difficult times while covering for the injured Mike Maignan. His displays improved with time, but the damage had already been done. The Romanian surely wasn’t the main culprit at Milan last season, but his run in the Starting XI coincided with the club’s lowest point in years.

Therefore, Milan did well to replace the former Fiorentina man with longtime Atalanta veteran Marco Sportiello. The Italian should prove to be an upgrade in the understudy role, nevertheless, the Rossoneri fans would rather have a fit Maignan for the entire campaign rather than test the validity of this statement.

Verdict: Stronger


In: Marco Pellegrino

Out: Fodé Ballo-Touré, Matteo Gabbia

The Rossoneri hardly changed at the back, so we can expect the same backline from last season. With Malick Thiaw growing from strength to strength, Milan’s defense can further improve without having to make a change in personnel.

Fodé Ballo-Touré leaves the club after two underwhelming campaigns. The Senegalese was serving as a back-up for Theo Hernandez, but with Alessandro Florenzi fit again, Pioli should have enough cover in the fullback department.

Matteo Gabbia also joined Villarreal on loan after struggling to earn playing time at San Siro. Promising Uruguayan Marco Pellegrino has arrived to replace him, but he’ll have to swiftly climb in the pecking order to make an impact in his first season at Milanello.

Verdict: Slightly weaker in theory, but potentially stronger on the pitch


In: Tijjani Reijnders, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Yunus Musah

Out: Sandro Tonali, Charles De Ketelaere, Brahim Diaz

Where shall we begin? The middle of the park was the epicenter of the squad overhaul that ensued during the summer transfer market at Milan. The whole revamp was basically funded by Tonali’s sale.

Moreover, the Diavolo didn’t just change the personnel but also the formation. With Brahim Diaz returning to Real Madrid and Charles De Ketelaere trying to restore his status as an exciting player at Atalanta, Pioli no longer has a genuine attacking midfielder at his disposal.

Therefore, the manager dropped his tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation, resorting to a 4-3-3 lineup, and thankfully for him, the club provided him with the right set of tools. Tijjani Reinders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are proving to be some of the best signings of the whole Mercato, while Yunus Musah is certainly a brilliant prospect.

Although the Rossoneri lost a couple of pillars in the shape of Diaz and Tonali, the middle of the park looks as sharp and compact as ever, and ready to endure the gauntlet.

Verdict: Stronger, especially in depth 


In: Christian Pulisic, Samuel Chukwueze, Luka Romero

Out: Alexis Saelemaekers, Junior Messias, Ante Rebic

Last season, the right-wing role was considered the weak link in Pioli’s formation. Alexis Saelemaekers and Junior Messias competed for a starting berth, but neither displayed convincing displays worthy of a top Serie A club like Milan, at least not on a consistent basis.

Therefore, Moncada and company offloaded the pair and replaced them with a trio of exciting right-wingers. Christian Pulisic has already cemented himself as a key member of the squad with his influential displays.

For his part, Samuel Chukwueze is an explosive winger who’s yet to earn a starting berth due to the stern competition on the flanks. Finally, 18-year-old Luka Romero is one for the future. The latter arrived on a free transfer from Lazio.

On the opposite flank, Rafael Leao reigns supreme. Ante Rebic used to serve as the Portuguese’s backup, but he’s been on a steady decline over the past couple of years.

Nevertheless, Pioli possesses several players who could be deployed on the left side in case of emergency, including Pulisic, Chukwueze and Noah Okafor.

Verdict: Undoubtedly Stronger


In: Noah Okafor, Luka Jovic

Out: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Divock Origi

After a long bout with injuries, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has mercifully put an end to his iconic and unparalleled playing career. But truth be told, the Swede hardly contributed to the club’s cause (at least on the pitch) in the previous campaign, and the same goes for Divock Origi.

The former Liverpool man failed to leave a mark at Milan, and ended up joining Nottingham Forest on loan in this summer transfer market session.

On the other hand, the Italian giants snatched the signature of Okafor who had suitors all over Europe. The 23-year-old Swiss is a versatile attacker who can either spearhead the frontline or take the wings.

Moreover, Luka Jovic arrived from Fiorentina on deadline day to bolster the attacking lineup. But in the meantime, Olivier Giroud remains the undisputed starter in Pioli’s book, and for a good reason.

So it remains to be seen if the newcomers can topple the aging Frenchman off his throne, but regardless, their addition is enough to add some much-needed pace and depth to the frontline.

Verdict: Stronger


As we mentioned in a previous editorial, Milan arguably enjoyed their most fruitful summer transfer market in recent memory.

Based on the above, the Rossoneri have managed to improve their squad in almost every department. Pioli is already reaping the rewards on the pitch, though it remains too early to draw conclusions.

Another important aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked, is the fact that the management opted to buy all of their signings on a permanent basis rather than indulging in complex loan formulas as it’s often been the case with Serie A clubs in the past years.

This is certainly a healthy sign from sporting and financial standpoints, so it’s now up to Pioli to work his magic and reignite the flame that went mysteriously missing last season.

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