Week 16: Salernitana – Milan, Plus Looking Forward

Salernitana – Milan January 4 2023 12:30CET

The World Cup break provided rest for the many Milan players that were not on national team duty. However, bad news and concerns for the rest of the season did not go away. Three friendlies were played against Arsenal, Liverpool and PSV and all three were losses. The handicapped team looked inept at times and it was not just because Leao, Theo, Dest, Giroud, Ballo-Toure, De Ketelaere and Kjaer were in Qatar but that Maignan (injured before the World Cup) was joined on the – of course growing – injury list by Origi, Krunic and Messias. Post World Cup added Rebic to the said list. Maignan has not recovered and has the team seeking goalkeeping solutions with the French player dangerously close to the ‘made of glass’ tag.

The team will need to recover from the friendly losses and look to not only catch up to first placed Napoli but keep its second place position in the table which is under threat with Juventus, Lazio and Inter close behind. Tatarusanu, not the most convincing, will start. Mirante was only to be an emergency signing when he joined in October of 2021 but he is still considered a third choice keeper. Both backups have an expiring contract and may not be retained. Marco Sportiello may be signed from Atalanta but that is not likely to happen in this January transfer window. Milan are reportedly close to Colombian keeper Devis Vasquez from Guarani. An unknown player on the cheap is not the most promising transfer but it is hoped he will provide solid cover.

The back four will likely be more secure with Theo, Kalulu, Tomori and the recovered Calabria starters. Bennacer and Tonali could remain the middle two while evidence for a more solid middle three grows. Saelemaekers, De Ketelaere and Leao should be the starters behind one of the World Cup’s stars in Giroud.

Salernitana invested relatively heavily last summer and feature Krzysztof Piatek among others. The team sits in the middle of the table.

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