The goalkeeper improves, but caution is needed. He may be ready for Tottenham, but only for the return match in London
After only seven days the championship was already saying something: Napoli in the lead, Milan, Rome and Lazio chasing the Champions League area, Sampdoria in the fall. Much more has changed: Inter recovered, Juve penalized, Pioli in a negative series and since then without Mike Maignan. In the seventh, the Rossoneri goalkeeper played his penultimate match of the season: on September 18, 143 days ago. The last one is with the national team, 45′ in France-Austria, the start of the tunnel, a week later. There is still a long way to get out of it: Maignan was expected to see the light again in mid-February, exactly the San Siro spotlights for Milan-Tottenham on the 14th. However, hopes must be extinguished immediately: Mike will hardly be there. More time is needed to complete the recovery, more likely to be seen again at the end of the month, maximum at the beginning of March. Looking at the usual Champions League calendar, the new goal becomes Tottenham-Milan, the second leg of the round of 16, scheduled for next 8 March in London. The count of missed games is thus destined to get much longer: in Serie A, at the moment, there are 14. They can go up to 17-18. Four matches missed in the Champions League: in all likelihood they will become five at the beginning of next week. Today the total is 20, including the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup. Tomorrow is still a question mark.
Meanwhile, Mike continues his work at Milanello: yesterday’s exams showed improvements. But so far the reaction of the muscle to stress has been decisive for establishing recovery times. The tests he underwent at the end of September showed a lesion of the medial twin of the left calf. A month later, when the finish line of the return to the field was clearly visible, here was the new stop, a lesion of the soleus. A real tear and the whole rehabilitation process that starts again from the start. Involved the same calf but a different muscle. Once again the light that can be glimpsed, and it is the warm light of Dubai, and other shadows that lengthen: during his retreat in the Emirates Mike continued his work, alternating the gym with a few quick outings on goal. Then, gone: not a second recurrence but poor response to workloads. The damage is now being completely repaired, the new phase will then be dedicated to recovering the explosive force. The club does not give precise estimates on times, even if monitoring remains continuous and constant. However, the utmost caution is required.
ITEMS AND NUMBERS
The extended absence fueled the rumours. Is it possible that a calf injury keeps Maignan out of goal for so long? Yes, for the trouble history just made. Other reconstructions or imaginative news are not confirmed in reality. It’s more difficult to stop questions such as: if the recovery proceeded slowly, why didn’t Milan choose to intervene in January? In Dubai, when it became clear that the wait was still going to be long, the winter transfer market was still open. How open to opposing attacks the Rossoneri defense proved to be, more and more: in 2023 it conceded nineteen goals. January was a record low in the club’s entire history. February opened with the goal conceded by Lautaro in the derby, the night in which his teammates blatantly cursed Tatarusanu (moreover, Milan’s best) and with Pioli launching the three-man defense in an attempt to restore solidity to the department.
Devis Vasquez was not the solution to close the door. The Colombian who arrived from Guaranì, Paraguay, was not considered ready for Serie A. Milan, in fact, had spoken of an investment in perspective. However, Vasquez is 24 years old, not exactly a very young potential: and when Maignan returns, the door will be armored again. Vasquez will be able to remain as third goalkeeper or, if sold abroad, he will be able to open a space for the registration of a new non-EU player. The number 12 will instead be delivered to Sportiello, who will be released from Atalanta next.
February 8 – 07:59
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