There seems to be a lot of uncertainty at Milan today. While Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future is hanging in the balance, no one knows what the future holds for Stefano Pioli as well. Zvonimir Boban was let go by the Elliot Management, encapsulating the uncertainty that always hovers around at the San Siro.
Not just that, no one is sure about which player at Milan will stay or not. Very few know who will come in and no one knows if Ralf Rangnick will be at the club next season or not. At the centre of these issues lies the club’s right-back conundrum. And because of that conundrum, the links with Alvaro Odriozola make perfect sense.
This comes months after Milan signed another Real Madrid full-back in Theo Hernandez. The summer signing has been a real success and was the club’s highest goalscorer at one point. As a result, Ricardo Rodriguez lost his place and now plies his trade in the Netherlands.
While that is the situation at left-back, Stefano Pioli has been trusting Andrea Conti for the right-back spot on a regular basis this season. The former Atalanta man has had his Milan career hampered constantly by injuries but he’s now finally getting a spell in the first-team.
He’s made 16 Serie A appearances so far, replacing Davide Calabria as the result. Calabria has had a poor season, having been sent off twice in the campaign and has made only 11 starts so far. If not for the red-cards, he could have played more. But that just shows how inconsistent and troublesome a player he can sometimes be.
While Conti has had a mini-resurgence, the Italian hasn’t been overly good at all. He does make 1.9 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game, but he gets dribbled past 1.4 times per game as well. The ACL injuries have made him a much slower player than he used to be and he too is prone to making defensive errors at the back.
Going forward, he doesn’t add much incentive. He completes only 0.3 dribbles per game and has a tally of only 0.5 key passes per game. It shows that he can be a limited player and won’t help out the attack as much a complete full-back.
As for Odriozola, he is only a squad player in his loan at Bayern Munich, but his spell at Real Sociedad saw him play regularly for La Real.
In the 2017-18 season, he was a regular at right-back and even broke into the Spanish national team. He made 35 La Liga appearances for Sociedad, picking up four assists on the way. He was that technically-gifted right-back, as he came up with 1.3 key passes per game and was vital to creation for the forward players.
He had a sound positioning and got dribbled past only 0.4 times per game– a very good stat for a right-back. He didn’t win as many tackles and interceptions as Conti has this season, but him not getting dribbled past as much shows how he’s very sound positionally and knows what he is doing in both aspects of play.
This shows what a complete full-back Odriozola is. And considering Achraf Hakimi comes back to Real next season, he will be a back-up once again. At 24, he needs a club where he can play regularly and reignite his career. Milan are in rebuild mode again and can offer him a first-team role soon.