How 31 y/o star revitalised Milan under Stefano Pioli


Ever since Massimiliano Allegri left AC Milan, the club has made some strange decisions in the transfer market. Many transfers have gone down to be failures and have been a reflection of the club’s times post-2013. But in recent months, some signings have worked out excellently. One of them has been Simon Kjaer.

Kjaer arrived at Milan on loan from Atalanta in January in a swap deal involving former La Dea man Mattia Caldara. It was a no-nonsense move from the Rossoneri as they signed an experienced defender alongside an experienced striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It was a sign that they were going for tried and tested ways to seek European football.

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And since Kjaer came in, Milan have looked like a completely different team. The experienced Dane has proved to be a big upgrade on Mateo Musacchio and a perfect partner for Alessio Romagnoli. He has shored up the club’s backline and it is hardly a coincidence that during this time, Milan are enjoying a very impressive spell in Serie A.

They are yet to lose a game post-lockdown and this spell has seen them pick up big results. They picked up an impressive 4-2 win over Juventus, they beat Lazio 3-0 and held Napoli and Atalanta to draws. For the games after lockdown, the rossoneri have been at the top of the table.

31-year-old Kjaer was crucial in games against Roma, Juve, Lazio and was impressive in the clashes against Parma and Bologna, when Stefano Pioli’s men scored three and five goals each. Against Roma, Kjaer had a passing accuracy of 91 percent and he played as many as 61 successful passes as well. He didn’t win a tackle, but he made one interception and four clearances.

Against the biancocelesti in the 3-0 win for Milan, the Dane won three aerial duels and again, he boasted a reliable passing accuracy of 90 percent and played a total of 65 passes for Pioli’s side (as per Whoscored).

How comfortable he is on the ball is a very important part of the 31-year-old’s repertoire and the experience he brings to the plate is very vital for Milan. Their backline is pretty young. Romagnoli is only 25, while Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria and 22 and 23 each. Andrea Conti is 26. The players in front of Kjaer are Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer, but they too are 23 and 22 respectively.

What Kjaer adds is a huge amount of reliability at the back that Milan didn’t have in Musacchio. The Argentine was prone to errors and that is the reason why he has been excluded from the club’s first-team by Pioli now. The rossoneri are looking to sign Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer to replace Musacchio and it shows that they don’t rely on Musacchio at all.

The defenders that Milan might soon have- Kjaer, Romagnoli and Ajer shows that they are building towards a team that is good on the ball and plays out from the back. Kjaer fits the bill and is much more experienced than the other two.

Milan have already signed him permanently and they’ve roped him in for just €3.5 million. But the value for money in this deal is huge.