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Au Revoir, M’Baye Niang


Most people think that “au revoir” means goodbye. But in fact, it literally translates “to the seeing again.” I am sure to use it with those I am fond of, especially those I wish to see again. And so, with Niang’s loan to Montpelier, I say au revoir instead of adieu. Because my hope is that his loan spell will get him some regular playing time, and Milan will see what they are missing and bring him back home.

Hard to let go of what could have been

Niang has been at Milan for a year and a half now, and has failed to see any consistent playing time. However, he has been given quite a few chances. In 32 official appearances, however, he has only scored one goal, vs. Reggina in the Coppa Italia over a year ago. A star that looked to explode onto the scene has instead fizzled and threatened to fade.

A lot of people don’t know what people see in Niang, and to be fair, he was always too young to be certain of success or failure. But what so many people saw was pure unbridled potential. Speed, fearlessness, and a shark-like nose for scoring opportunities. He is great on the ball, very creative, and also fantastic defensively. As a natural center forward, he was usually played out of position at Milan, on the wing, a tribute to his flexibility and malleability. His talent is raw and untempered, which is both appealing and unnerving.

It may not be official, but he is already training at Montpelier

He is very young, only just turned 19. That one of the two incidents he is known for was driving Traoré’s car underage is proof of his immaturity. The fact that he was unable to convert his fiery drive into actual goals is another. And yet his other notorious episode was striking a ball so hard that he broke the crossbar in training. Which leaves us hungry for what could happen if his accuracy were fine-tuned just a little bit more.

Still, his development was thwarted when Balotelli arrived, there was too much competition for a starting spot. Of his 32 appearances, only 11 were starts. So don’t let the numbers fool you. This week, he told the media that with this loan, he wanted to get back to the player that he was. A haunting and yet scathing insight to Milan’s so-called commitment to youth, particularly with rumors that Cristante, Saponara, Vergara and even Gabriel have also all been linked with loans or moves away in January.

So much potential, yet so little trust from the club

So I’m hoping that this loan move will be a new beginning for our fiery young talent. I  especially hope that the rumors of a big buyout clause will prevent him from leaving Milan permanently this summer. Maybe it’s just the romantic in me, but I believe in our “Bang Bang Niang,” and I’d love to see him explode at Milan after a little six month detour. Bonne chance, Traoré Niang! Au revoir. We’ll keep your song ready for your return.


This post inspired by the music of Nitzer Ebb’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”


Stay tuned for a great new podcast to ring in the New Year tomorrow