Hamstring hassle and youth surprises [Newsletter]
The international break has come to an end and preparations are underway for the Fiorentina clash on Saturday. However, Stefano Pioli has been dealt some pretty bad news on the injury front: Noah Okafor sustained an injury while on Switzerland duty and won’t be available for the upcoming games.
It has been mentioned before and it’s worth mentioning again: the international break came at a good time for Milan. A time to regroup for Pioi’s men, while at least a few players have been able to recover from injury in the last week or so. The timing may have been favourable, but the situation is still not ditto.
Davide Calabria and Christian Pulisic have disposed of their minor discomforts, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be available despite struggling with stomach flu. These are three important recoveries especially in view of the Borussia Dortmund game, which is scheduled for Tuesday next week.
On the other hand, Rafael Leao’s hamstring injury proved to be more troubling than first expected, which means he will miss the game against the Germans. And in his final game for Switzerland - three games in seven days, mind you - Okafor sustained a hamstring injury as well and will be re-evaluated in a week.
This means that Milan are expected to call up the Primavera wonderkid Francesco Camarda for Saturday’s game. At the age of just 15, he has bagged seven goals and assisted an additional two for Ignazio Abate’s side this season. It’s also worth mentioning that three of his goals came in the UEFA Youth League, where he has faced players who are much older than him.
In addition to Camarda, Diego Sia is also set to be called up by Pioli and it’s a no-brainer. The 17-year-old has been in great form this season (six goals, five assists) and can play both in the centre and on the left flank. Most fans will know Chaka Traore, but the truth is that Sia is in much better form.
Even though the idea of seeing Camarda making his debut is very exciting, there’s no doubt that we are talking about an attacking crisis. At this point, the feeling is that January reinforcements won’t help much at all given that the Milan players are dropping like flies.
Instead of one of the rumoured four signings, Milan should hire a team of experts who can observe the work at Milanello, as well as assist with player recovery. The Rossoneri clearly are doing something wrong on that front. Surely there are some experts in the United States that Gerry Cardinale can fly out?
➤ Milan Women have parted ways with Maurizio Ganz and have appointed Davide Corti as their new head coach, promoting him from the Women’s Primavera. The decision came after the disappointing 1-1 draw against Sampdoria on Saturday evening. The Rossonere are in sixth place with just nine points after eight games.
➤ For the first time, AC Milan fans and the media were given a briefing on exactly what Vincenzo Vergine wants to achieve with the youth sector following his recent arrival from Roma and we broke down the key quotes from his interview.
➤ Sticking with the youth sector, Milan apparently have a ‘large advantage’ over other clubs in the race to sign Matija Popovic on a free transfer from Partizan Belgrade. Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Dortmund were all keen but the Rossoneri hope to close the agreement soon.
➤ Milan are open to January offers for Rade Krunic as the renewal talks have hit a stalemate. Another meeting has been scheduled and depending outcome, Fenerbahce could make a new attempt for the player. The price tag is now in the single digits, following the €10-12m demand in the summer.
➤ Paolo Maldini was a guest on the ‘Poretcast’ podcast and he spoke about a wide range of topics from his beginnings as a winger to everything he achieved at Milan. However, he also dropped an interesting bombshell about an attempt to sign Lionel Messi.
➤Present as a key speaker at the Social Football Summit 2023 in Rome, Milan's CEO Giorgio Furlani shared his thoughts on the club’s project under RedBird Capital and highlighted how on-field success is the main focus.
➤ Furlani’s words in another recent interview – refusing to rule out the sale of another star – sparked speculation about who could be the next big sale. A report outlined that there are three main suspects.
In case you missed it
Make sure to check out the latest podcast episode, and our latest bonus podcast in which the lads discuss their transfer regrets. We have also published quite a few bonus articles lately, including a piece on why Milan won’t replace Pioli with a world-class manager. Are you interested in a paid subscription? Read all about it here.