My first season at AC Milan has come to a close, and overall, it’s been pretty good. At the beginning of the season the board expected us to finish in the Europa League positions. We had quite a large, old, and overpaid squad. A lot has changed.
The changes mainly began in January, and have there own update here. For more details on the first half of the season check out that update. But lets look at how the team did in the entirety of the first season.
The results on the face of it look pretty good, with plenty of green dots to show for. First we’re going to look at the league table after 26 games, which could have been a critical point in the season.
Since January Juventus were dropping lots of points which meant they came to the San Siro with us having the chance of going top with a win. However, we were unable to capitalise.
Another disappointing loss against one of our rivals. As you can see from our results, from the 6 games against Roma, Inter, and Juventus, we only managed 1 win (2-1 at home vs Roma) and 1 draw (2-2 away vs Inter). I think this is what really prevented us from sustaining a title bid. The final league table looked like this.
9 defeats from the season was far too many. Inter’s serious lack of consistency meany we had a solid 8 point cushion between us, and then a further 10 up to Juventus. This was arguably our best chance to beat Juventus to the title because, as shown in real life, they’re in a definite transition period. However, 87 points is still a huge tally for them and it’s going to be hard to overthrow them and prevent a sixth straight Scudetto next season.
Generally we went through patches with poor results when suspensions and injuries hit, meaning I had to rotate the back four. When Romagnoli and Ely started 10 games in a row together, we only conceded 6 goals, including 7 clean sheets.
Using the newly improved stats screens on FM16 this year, I’ve pulled out some interesting screenshots that could provide me with information about our performance this year and how to develop the team going forward.
Above is a slideshow of awards from the club, and won by my players. Below is the stats of my first teams squad.
Diego Lopez was solid in goal, although his attributes have begun to decline at the age of 34. Abbiati, who you can’t see in the screenshot, didn’t play and is retiring at the end of the season.
Nicolas Murru replaced De Sciglio excellently, and was voted as signing of the season by the fans. Romagnoli and Ely proved a solid partnership, and Cabral and Mammana had decent showings in the second half of the season, although Cabral was unhappy with his game time. Abate was one of the highest rated players in the league, and when he picked up an injury, 19 year old Davide Calabria stepped up excellently.
In the centre of midfield there was quite a lot of chopping and changing. De Jong started the season well, but I got frustrated with his discipline, and he ended up hardly playing in the last third of the season. Poli and Bertolacci was the general pairing and were pretty solid in general, although I think I’ll need to improve this area to take the team up a level. On the right of midfield was Honda, who was my player of the year. On the left Suso, who moaned about Bonaventura being sold even though it gave him far more game time. Suso was so good that De Paul didn’t get much of a chance, but when he did he looked an exciting player.
The normal pairing was Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca. Bacca ended as top scorer, although his goal came in patches. It seems Bacca needs constant individual team talks to get his best. Adriano was similar in terms of the patchiness of his goals, but his high work rate (19) meant he always contributed. The biggest disappointment of the first season was Andrea Belotti. I signed him for €18 million and he only scored one goal (30 yarder though). Admittedly he was chopped about, but I was still expecting more.
The players currently on the way out of the club are:
- Abbiati – Retiring, could sign a new backup GK, or promote 17 year old Donnarumma.
- Montolivo – Contract expiring, tried to sell him during the year but no takers
- De Jong – Fell out with me over his discipline, moving to Everton for €4 million
I may also look at selling Diego Lopez because he has begun to diminish attribute-wise, although he is my captain. Cabral may also leave because he won’t get enough game time to keep him happy, which would leave me with no centre backs over 22. Apart from those 2 I don’t have any other planned sales yet. However, I’d say only Romagnoli is unsellable at the moment, and anyone over 28 definitely has their price in my eyes. We’ll have to wait and see.
In terms of transfers to the club, I already have some in place:
Gerónimo Rulli – Joining from Sociedad on a free. Aged 23, he’s the main reason Lopez could be on his way out.
- Lucas Romero – Joining from Velez on a free. 22 year old Argentinian holding midfielder, likely to be De Jong’s replacement, although he has some developing to do to become a really top quality player.
- Gabriel Barbosa – Joining from Santos for €12 million, rising to €16.5 million. I think this is an absolute bargain for the well known wonderkid. He’ll be able to play in both striker positions, and on both sides of my midfield 4.
I’m thinking of making De Paul’s loan permanent because of his versatility. I may also look at the possibility of a really high quality centre midfielder, although I’m not a big fan of huge purchases. If a high quality striker under the age of 25 became available I’d also consider it.
My overall transfer policy will be to make the squad smaller, with more players who can play multiple positions, such as Gabriel Barbosa. This will allow me to keep a settled back 4, with plenty of options in front, and no players unhappy (in theory). Last year we used the joint 4th highest number of players (28) and I’d like to lower this. In the first season I’ve left scouting to my Chief Scout, but I’ll be taking it over from this summer.
It’ll be tough to overthrow Juventus, so my main target for next year will be to improve on the 77 points I made this year. I’d also like to improve on this years cup run, where we were knocked out in the first round. And in my first year in Europe, I think we should be getting out of any Champions League Group, although we’ll be very inexperienced.
Congratulations if you have made it to the end of this post, I can’t tell if it’s very long, or it’s just the screenshots padding it out. Anyway, thanks for reading, feedback would be greatly appreciated, and I hope you return for the next update!