The 2022 Qatar World Cup may be taking up all of the attention right now but very soon, the January transfer window will kick into gear and could be a busier one than normal.
With many club executives finding themselves with a bit more time than normal to plan a strategy for the one-month-long transfer window, there could be swifter and more noteworthy moves made.
Many big Serie A teams have not been performing as well as they expected and that is why they are more likely to enter the market in January. AC Milan are one of them. They may be second in the table, but the eight-point gap to Napoli is worrying and Stefano Pioli knows that reinforcements would help.
What have AC Milan been lacking this season?
The primary area for AC Milan to address during January is the attacking midfield, specifically the right wing. The Rossoneri have been lacking creativity at times and have had little way to change that from the bench.
The patchy form of Brahim Diaz and the lack of impact from Charles De Ketelaere means that Pioli wants more from that area of the pitch.
There has also been a lack of depth in the striker position as Olivier Giroud has been forced to play in 23 games for club and country already this season at the age of 36. Divock Origi’s limited impact means that another striker to rotate with Giroud could be important.
Who could AC Milan sign in January?
The primary target and the most likely to join in the January window appears to be Hakim Ziyech. The Chelsea winger would immediately improve the right wing for Milan and he could operate in the number 10 role if needed too.
The Moroccan has had very little game time with Chelsea and Milan want to loan him for the second half of the season with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer. The major stumbling block is his €6 million salary. Milan may need a favour from Chelsea there.
His superb performances at the World Cup so far have shown that he does still have the ability needed to impress, and that could force Milan to make a move.
Mohammed Kudus is a man of the moment. The Ghanaian has impressed at the World Cup and that is largely why Milan are starting to be linked with the Ajax star.
He is an attacking midfielder who would presumably be an alternative signing to Hakim Ziyech, and one that could break the bank. Ajax know that there are a lot of very wealthy and interested clubs on the lookout for Kudus.
RB Salzburg forward Noah Okafor has attracted the attention of plenty of big clubs in Europe and AC Milan are one of them. It is perhaps more likely that Okafor will be on the move in the summer, but Milan will surely be testing the waters for a January move.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan plan to beat the competition by offering the Swiss forward a significant pay rise on the €1 million per season that he currently earns.
Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has been linked with a move away for many years and it has never quite materialised. In a desire to add more creativity to the midfield and allow Yacine Adli to go out on loan, Milan could take the plunge.
It would almost certainly be a loan deal with an option to buy, and it could end up being a deal that has to wait until the summer.