Of the team seen in 2023, practically nothing is saved. Center forward, right winger or reserve goalkeeper: fans hope it will take less than two weeks to put a patch on it
Milan is gone. Maybe we will find him again because, even if he has never experienced a crisis like this, Pioli knows his team deeply and theoretically knows what the right strings to strike should be. But, right now, Milan is gone. Flat electrocardiogram, on the monitor the line has no jolts exactly like on the pitch. There is no other definition for a team that has failed to find stimuli with a trophy up for grabs and in the presence of their city rival. He didn’t find them on the eve and he didn’t find them even during the race. Il Diavolo started and finished the game with the same, very bland intensity.
A group unloaded in the legs, crushed in the head, buried in the principles of the game, scared even in the easiest plays. A drastic involution because if it was clear from the beginning of the season that some things weren’t working like last year, important signs had nevertheless arrived in the first few months: the victory in the championship derby, the victory over Juve, the qualification for the Champions League round of 16. In January, however, the collapse, from the cursed minute number 93 of Milan-Roma, when Abraham canceled the Rossoneri victory at sunset of a match dominated for 85′. That was the last recognizable Milan, the last Piolian Milan. After that, the transfiguration. The transition from solid to gaseous state: impalpable.
Milan equaled the longest streak without a win under Pioli’s management: four games in a row (two draws and two defeats), as in February 2021 between the championship and the Europa League. But that was a Milan still under construction, while this should in theory have further benefits from the fourth season at Milanello. Benefits that Pioli has tried to look for in his squad in recent months. A rather long squad – with the arrival of Devis Vasquez we are at 31 elements – which, however, did not offer credible alternatives. The embarrassment of Riyadh – which adds to the one in the Italian Cup and Lecce’s first half – once again certified the inconsistency of the new faces, with a further problem: we are in January and therefore they are no longer so new. Yet the contribution borders on nothing. The final piece by Origi and De Ketelaere was impalpable, not even a minute for Adli as usual, total bench also for Vranckx.
And then the fans wonder, with a rage that was smoldering and has now exploded, as to why the club has not yet prepared an action plan on the transfer market. The fact is that the action plan, unless it is set up in a hurry in the next few hours – with all the risks involved – doesn’t exist. Maldini said it clearly a few days ago (“We won’t do anything on the winter transfer market”), a choice endorsed by Pioli (“The squad is fine as it is”). Also because in these terms it weighs, precisely a large number of “over 30s”. Besides, who could get out? Bakayoko, maybe. Adli, perhaps, if the management and the person concerned change their mind about staying at Milanello at all costs, since the playing time remains nailed to nothing. Even Lazetic, who is mostly employed with the Primavera, could benefit from six-month experience in another first team. Here, the center forward is one of those figures that the fans are clamoring for, because Giroud is visibly tired and Origi has not arrived. Just as a higher quality right winger would be needed compared to Saelemaekers and Messias. And a deputy Maignan with more “presence” than Tatarusanu (who, moreover, did not make individual mistakes in Riyadh unlike all the other comrades). The club thinks about it, knows all this, and maybe a new name will come up in the next few days. The problem is that at the end of the market there are only thirteen left.
January 19, 2023 (change January 19, 2023 | 00:27)
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