AC Milan’s rejuvenated attacking depth: Can Jovic and Okafor help Pioli reclaim the Scudetto?

AC Milan lacked attacking depth last season but two of their signings over the summer clearly address that issue and they could make the difference over a long season.

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After clinching the Scudetto in the 2021/22 Serie A campaign, AC Milan underwent a horrific title defence in 2022/23 as they finished fourth with a total of 70 points, a significant gap of twenty points separated them from the champions, Napoli.

Whilst Rossoneri stars Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao amassed a total of 28 goals in the previous Serie A season, it was quite evident that coach Stefano Pioli‘s side were heavily reliant on the pair of attackers in the final third of the pitch.

Whilst midfield became the primary focus in the 2023 summer transfer window for Milan, there was also a clear need for some new quality depth in attack.

AC Milan’s over-reliance on Giroud and Leao

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for AC Milan away at AS Roma. (Photo: AC Milan)

Whenever the pair of world-class forwards had an off-day or were unable to play, Milan lacked creativity and were far from clinical in front of goal, which seemed to be the greatest downfall last season.

Junior Messias and Alexis Saelemaekers on the right flank were extremely inconsistent as the two wingers tallied a combined total of eight league goals.

In addition, Divock Origi had a troublesome season after having arrived from Premier League outfit Liverpool on a free transfer as he only found the back of the net twice for the Milanese club.

After an extremely busy summer market for the Rossonerri, La Gazzetta della Sport analysed how Milan have addressed the issue with their new acquisitions up top.

Noah Okafor

AC Milan’s Noah Okafor. [@acmilan]

Noah Okafor is an intriguing signing as he is far from a typical profile of a number-nine in Serie A, as he is a forward who possesses a great deal of speed and who can run past any back-line, causing havoc for the opposition when coming off the bench.

Throughout the 2022/23 season, the former Red Bull Salzburg forward scored seven goals and got three assists for the Austrian outfit. In addition, the Swiss international notched a total of six goals in the Champions League over the course of the past two years.

With the 23-year-old still having plenty of room to grow and develop, the arrival of Okafor adds a great deal of unpredictability to the attack. With the ability to play both on the left and through the middle, he also provides depth behind both Leao and Giroud simultaneously.

Luka Jovic

Luka Jovic celebrates with Nikola Milenkovic after scoring for Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League. (@acffiorentina)

Despite a troublesome season with Fiorentina as the Serbian international only bagged six goals and three assists for in 31 league appearances, the signing of Luka Jovic adds an additional striker with physical strength and who can serve as an aerial threat for Pioli.

Although the 25-year-old struggled heavily under Vincenzo Italiano, the former Real Madrid forward could serve as a menacing threat with the proper guidance from Pioli as he managed to score 17 goals in the Bundesliga and 10 goals in the Europa League throughout the 2018/19 campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt, prior to his big transfer to Los Blancos the following season.

There is no getting away from the fact that Jovic was a panicked signing on deadline day for Milan when other deals fell through, but on a one-year deal, they have a capable striker to rotate with Giroud, something that wasn’t there last season.

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