AC Milan are entering a make-or-break season. The Rossoneri have missed out on the Champions League every season since 2013 and are desperate for a comeback. Currently in the midst of a busy transfer window, all signs indicate that the club is finally moving in the right direction.
AC Milan: 2020/21 Predictions
Champions League Qualification is a Success
Serie A is wider than ever before. Juventus still reign superior but they were not as convincing last season as years prior. With that being said, they’re a top-four guarantee. The same goes for Inter Milan. They had a strong campaign last season, lead by manager Antonio Conte and frontman Romelu Lukaku. With the additions of Achraf Hakimi and Aleksander Kolarov, Inter are another top-four lock.
Milan’s competition then consists of Lazio, Napoli, Roma, and Atalanta.
Lazio have Europe’s Golden Boot winner in Ciro Immobile. That, of course, is a major plus. The rest of the squad is very solid, but Lazio have not made major investments to improve. They finished last season in poor form as well. Napoli have also somewhat declined and lost midfielder Allan to Everton. Roma have a deep squad, but one lacking a true star. They also lost star boy Nicolo Zaniolo to an ACL injury.
Atalanta remain a wild card. They were the best team going forward in Italy last season and made a respectable run in the Champions League. Another fruitful European campaign has the chance to hinder their domestic ability, however.
Milan finished last season in terrific form and will look to continue that next week. Sandro Tonali greatly strengthens what was once Milan’s weakest link in the midfield, and youngster Brahim Diaz from Real Madrid has the potential to shine while on loan at Milan.
What’s most important, however, is that Milan will finally enter a season with continuity. They will begin the new season with the same manager who finished the last in Stefano Pioli. He worked wonders with Milan’s current squad, and there’s no indication that that will falter.
Milan are not a Scudettocontender, but they can certainly be a top-four squad.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Picks Up Where He Left Off
Not much was expected from Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he left the MLS to re-join a struggling Milan squad last season. Any doubts over the Swede were quickly shot down, however.
Ibrahimovic managed to score 11 goals in all competitions. In addition, he also provided five assists. When looking at solely his Serie A stats, he scored ten goals and assisted five in 18 matches. Those are great numbers for any player, let alone a 38-year-old. On that pace, Ibrahimovic would’ve scored 20 goals and provided ten assists in a full season.
The Swede proved to be so much more than a goal scorer for Milan, however. He brought leadership that was sorely missed in the team. Milan have plenty of young talent, but they needed a leader and a veteran to look up to. Ibrahimovic was just that. It’s no coincidence that every player’s level of play increased upon Ibrahimovic’s arrival.
Don’t expect Ibrahimovic to contend with Immobile or Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer of the league. Numbers within the 13-15 goal range and 5-7 assists range are very doable, however. If Ibrahimovic can do this, Milan’s attack will continue to be potent along with Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu.
AC Milan Make a Splash in the Winter Transfer Window
If Milan manage to start the season with the same form they ended last campaign on, then they will be in the top-four race by the next transfer window. Assuming that’s the case, then Milan will make a marquee signing during the window to ensure Champions League qualification.
One position to monitor is right-back. As of now, Davide Calabria and Andrea Conti are the team’s options at the position. Calabria is solid most of the time, but never spectacular. His off-nights, however, have certainly cost the team points before. A team that’s serious about Champions League cannot continue to move forward with Calabria.
Conti is similar in the sense that he’s never amazing but can be solid. His off-nights are also horrendous, and they happen far too often. In addition, his injury history cannot be overstated. Conti spends more time on the sidelines than he does on the pitch.
It remains to be seen what potential names will be out there for Milan to pursue, but that is the position that is in most dire need of an upgrade.