Mixed Reactions

Summer friendlies can be difficult. The mercato is in full swing, so some players are making their debuts while others are saying their goodbyes. In the friendlies, some players are impressing, others still seem to be on vacation. With this summer's national team duty calling up players for both the U21 and Euro tournaments as well as the Olympics, we saw a few players in other settings as well. The friendly in Nice and this week's events brought mixed reactions.

Scoring on your debut is a great first impression.

Kessié's Olympic campaign with Côte d'Ivoire at the Olympics went to extra time in their quarterfinals with Spain. Although they battled well, and the score was 2-2 at the end of regulation, Spain came back with three goals in extra time to send the Ivorian team home. Kessié is reportedly coming straight back to Milanello, although he was originally expected to return after August eighth. Seriously, that man never stops running. Kalulu is expected to take a few extra days off after France were eliminated earlier this past week. 

Kessié scored a goal in his first Olympic match, but is on his way home now

The match was a fairly typical summer friendly. A few yellow cards, a few moments of brilliance, and a lot of sweat and sluggishness. Maignan made a decent debut with a great save in the 24th minute, then chest-bumped Romagnoli after the captain made a great tackle ten minutes later. For his part, he kept a clean sheet for the 45 minutes he played.

Tomori conceded a penalty in the 57th that was confirmed by VAR and which Tatarusanu was not able to save. 1-0 Nice. Giroud made his debut in the 61st minute, and less than five minutes later had scored a header from a lightning-doesn't-strike-twice-assist from Castillejo. 1-1 all. I hope that makes someone want to take him off of our hands soon. The match would finish in a draw, with most players getting at least a few minutes. But it felt like Pioli risked too many players' health, such as Tonali, while not taking a few risks with tactics and lineups when the result didn't matter.

The Magic Eagle did well on his debut

Fans blissfully distracted by Giroud's successful debut may not have noticed all of the times Leao worked a little too hard for a penalty, none of which were given. It was a shame that we saw him play out of position once again, and with Rebic just returning, and Hauge not called up, we saw Krunic start on the left wing like so many times last season. It would have been nice to see something different for a change, even if I understand that too many players were missing.

Ahead of the friendly in France, it was announced that Bennacer has been self-isolating and training at home after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, so he was not called up for the friendly. Hope he gets better quickly, he's had a tough year. Also announced was that Colombo will go on loan to SPAL. Best of luck to him. Neither he nor Hauge were called up for the match, with reports from Norway expecting Hauge to go to Eintracht Frankfurt. 

More value for us on the pitch than on the market?

Those reports are making me incredibly emotionally distraught. It's great to say that you doubled or tripled a player's market value in less than a year and made a profit, but when that profit is only €5-10 million after you let two players worth so much more walk away as free agents, it doesn't make as much sense. I know we need to get rid of some players, but I don't like this move. Hauge has inexplicably been benched and even left out of the Europa League, and it is frustrating as fans to not even be allowed to see what his potential is.

Leao has shown a lot of immaturity toward criticism with his "talk-talk" signs and social media posts after matches, and seems very easily impacted and distracted by social media. It could well be that he is influenced even more when the fans return with all of their hate, and we have seen what Milan fans do to players who they deem unworthy. While it would be difficult to sell him now and make a profit, he is actually more likely to lose value than Hauge. He would also be a great player to go on loan this season, as we discussed on the last podcast. We also desperately need to upgrade from Saelemaekers and Castillejo, and time is running out to do that.

Leao is undoubtedly brilliant, but will we regret not loaning him this summer?

The match was okay, nothing particularly remarkable. Kalulu and Kessié were able to represent their national teams at the Olympics, as were other players this summer at the Euro tournaments. On the other hand, Maignan looked solid and Giroud scored on his debut wearing the cursed number 9, both of which were very encouraging. But the transfer market is feeling a little uncertain at this point. It was actually a very busy week, but with a lot of mixed reactions.

This post inspired by the music of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You"

Our next match is a friendly
Valencia vs. Milan
Wednesday, August 4 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)

Mixed Reactions Mixed Reactions Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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