AC Milan’s situation is pretty much deplorable. Years of unplanned recruitment and planning has left them in a mess that is tough to get out of. Despite the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for free, they couldn’t get a goal past Sampdoria in a drab goalless draw. It was a reflection of how Milan’s problems lie deeper than what it seems from the outside. The signature of Matteo Politano will not address that.
As things stand, Milan have scored the third-lowest number of goals in the Serie A this season- 16. What makes it even more worrying is that they’re tenth, when it comes to XG created by the side. Their XG stands at 24.05. It shows that bar some poor finishing from Krzysztof Piatek, there has been a lack of creation from them too.
The underperformance of Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu has been a reason. The Spaniard has underperformed on his XG and XG, with the same applying for the Turk too. Bar Rade Krunic, every single player in the side hasn’t played as per his XA and that screams of lack of creation from Stefano Pioli’s side.
What Politano brings to the plate isn’t just creation, but pace as well. The Italian has been out of favour at Inter this season, having made only two starts in the Serie A. With Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez the club’s regular first-choice forwards, Politano hasn’t got a chance.
But last season, the right-sided forward had a hand in 11 goals in the league. In the 2017-18 season at Sassuolo, he got ten assists and picked up four goals– the best season of his career so far. For a team like Sassuolo, it was very good.
Politano has made a name for himself by predominantly playing on the right and cutting inside. Last season, he had a tally of 1.8 key passes per game, completing 1.3 dribbles per game too. That is less than Suso’s tally of this season, but the point is that both of them are similar sort of players. Last season, Politano had a tally of 1.6 crosses per game, while Suso’s tally was at 1.5.
Numbers show that despite that, Politano isn’t exactly too better a player than Suso. In fact, Suso has had a better final delivery than Politano in his ability to score and create.
The problem for the Spaniard has always been consistency. He had a spurt last season early on, when he was creating and scoring for fun. He contributed to ten goals in six games. He then had a spell towards the end of the season, when he had two goals and two assists in five games.
Politano hasn’t had any such patterns in his career. His goals and assists are spread across a bigger number of goals during his stint at Sassuolo. But he still contributes much less than Suso has, in terms of finding goals and finding assists. And Milan clearly need more.
They do have a striker in Zlatan upfront. He will score goals, if he gets the right service. Piatek could also have scored, if he was given the right service. But Milan need more than Politano. The deal could go onto benefit Inter more than Milan. They need better to come out of the mess that they’re currently in.