AC Milan continues to be linked with a number of players from Ligue 1 and have even got a signing on the way already this summer in Yacine Adli.
Numerous reports have claimed that the Rossoneri have also targeted Renato Sanches and Sven Botman of Lille while there are also suggestions that other talents are being monitored. The PianetaMilan staff interviewed Nicolas Le Gardien – a journalist from La Sud Ouest – to speak about the players in question.
What kind of season is Adli having? Has it grown since last season?
“Adli is having a difficult time. Even though he wasn’t always regular, he made a good first half of the season. Former coach Vladimir Petkovic made him play in an attacking position close to number 9, with a lot of freedom when the team had the ball.
“He was often decisive with his main characteristic: quality of offensive passing and was the player on the team who created the most shooting opportunities. He took more responsibility and was appointed captain for two games in January / February when Costil was injured and because Koscielny was discarded.
“Since the beginning of 2022, his performances have been less good and we find his flaws: the management of match times. He always plays at the same pace (fast), takes a lot of risks and loses a lot of balls, some of which put his team in trouble.
“New manager David Guion has him play on the left side of a 5-4-1 (with the freedom to come in the middle when the team has the ball) but has a harder time getting seen and was benched in the last game. But despite the difficulties of the team and personal, he maintains an excellent state of mind to work and try to help the team save itself.”
Do you think he is ready to play as a starter next season in a club like Milan?
“It seems difficult to me. He has the personality to be able to take the pressure, because he is very intelligent and has character. He does not hide. But to be a starter he will have to really progress in his regularity and know when he can take risks in the game and when he needs to slow down.”
Tactically, where does he best express himself? In Italy it is assumed that he can play in the role of attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1…
“In a 4-2-3-1, he can play in the middle in front of the defense or behind the attacker. In the first position, it is interesting because his passing quality can be expressed when he has the game in front of him, but his defensive phase is not very strong, or it is rough. In the second, he can press but he loses less energy in defence, but he is less comfortable if he receives the ball with his back to the goal or in tight spaces.”
What about Botman? What season is he having?
“Botman is still an essential player for Lille. We saw him in the Champions League in the return match against Chelsea: when he got injured, the team dropped. Even though Lille are having a less good season, he is one of the starting players who is still constant, strong in the duel, in the placement, in the aerial game.”
Same question as Adli: is he ready to be a starter at Milan?
“I think he is really more ready than Adli: he has more experience, he has already played in the Champions League, and he is regular. It depends on the competition and who will play next to him, but he has the qualities to do it.”
In Italy there is a lot of talk about Renato Sanches as a replacement for Kessie…
“I have no information, but also in France it is said that Renato Sanches will go to Milan next season. Injuries have been his big problem since the beginning of his career and, as a result, he has had choppy seasons. This one in particular. But when he was able to play, he was the best player of Lille.
“Jocelyn Gourvennec plays him in different positions (in front of the defence, behind the attacker or on the side) but every time, it makes a difference. Against Chelsea, he was the best attacking player of Lille, at Champions League level.
“His flaw is that sometimes he can lose some balls in dangerous areas because he holds it too much (but much less than Adli) and that, physically, he sometimes slows down in the second half. But this last point is linked to his injuries and to the fact that he rarely manages to chain more than 10 games in a row.”
Hugo Ekitike of Reims and Maxime Esteve of Montpellier have also been linked with Milan…
“Etikité is a young player that nobody knew in France until this season. He is very complete, mobile despite his physicality, skilled in finishing. He took advantage of the fact that the defenses knew little about him. His start to 2022 was a little bit less good and got injured in February.
“Esteve is also a new player in Ligue 1. He became essential in Montpellier, calm, good recovery, good at duels. However, he remains a ‘rookie’, has less confidence than Botman and, in my opinion, he has to do a few more seasons playing a lot in France to be ready for a club like Milan.”