AC Milan: Why the Rossoneri Struck Gold with Kevin Constant
AC Milan’s Guinean international Kevin Constant has been a revelation at left-back this season.
Constant arrived at the club only because of Sulley Muntari's injury, as stated by Adriano Galliani (from Gazzetta dello Sport via ESPN FC):
In agreement with our coach, we have decided to get him [Constant] once we found out about Muntari's injury. Muntari has had an ugly injury. I have never had a player that tore his cruciate (ligaments) during the holidays.
The Rossoneri bought him as a squad player and this article will detail how the Italian club struck gold with him.
The Unexpected Rise of Kevin Constant
AC Milan signing Kevin Constant would have made more sense during his season with Chievo, where he played alongside Luca Rigoni and Gelson Fernandes.
Kevin led the team in dribbles per game (1.6); was second in shots created per game (1.3) and worked hard without the ball (won back possession 4.0 times per league game).
His box-to-box presence in the Clivensi midfield impressed Genoa enough to buy him.
Though he didn't make the transition from exciting prospect to elite midfielder—much to the disappointment of president Enrico Preziosi and his team of advisers, who are attempting to be the Oakland Athletics of Serie A.
Would Constant even be at Milan if Sulley Muntari didn't do his ACL tackling Christian Atsu (per Ghana Soccernet) in an exhibition match during the offseason? No.
Prominent Rossoneri writer Matteo Bonetti pointed out Kevin's versatility but said he would only be a substitute under Massimiliano Allegri.
Most football aficionados agreed with Matteo.
In fact, you wouldn't have been wrong in believing Constant's career at Milan would peter out like Vikash Dhorasoo (remember him?).
Kevin Constant... Left-Back!?
Massimiliano Allegri is known for his tendency to play footballers out of position, expecting them to adjust on the fly.
When managing Cagliari, he once played water-carrier Davide Biondini at right-back.
With AC Milan, Allegri utilised Kevin-Prince Boateng—a box-to-box midfielder—as a deep-lying forward.
Then there was the oddity of using workhorse Urby Emanuelson as a No. 10.
Massimiliano threw a curveball by starting Kevin Constant, a tough tackling and creative two-way midfielder, at left-back.
With the benefit of hindsight, Constant did play infrequent minutes at LB for Genoa, and perhaps Allegri saw something in those games.
The reason why I said "perhaps" is because I fail to see what Massimiliano saw.
Álvaro González—a talented but inconsistent player—had his way with Constant, who looked out of sorts at full-back, when Genoa beat Lazio 3-2 last February.
AC Milan's LB Situation and Why They Struck Gold with Kevin Constant
These are the left-backs AC Milan have had in recent memory...
Mattia De Sciglio: Destined for greatness at right-back but playing on the left nullifies Mattia's best attribute—crossing.
Luca Antonini: Definition of mediocrity.
Daniele Bonera: The guy isn't even a good centre-back, so what makes you think he can play at left-back?
Taye Taiwo: Low football IQ, rash tackling and the inability to read play.
Djamel Mesbah: Milan's version of Cristian Molinaro.
Gianluca Zambrotta: Loved Taiwo's little story of Gianluca (via Sami Mokbel at The Daily Mail):
If I was Walcott and I saw this 34-year-old man in front of me, I would be saying: 'Just give me the ball, let me run him down.'
The thing is with Gianluca, you would never see him in training.
But if we had a game on Saturday, he would pop in on Thursday or Friday—and he would always play the match. That’s something I never understood.
Zambrotta was on his last legs—still hasn't found a club since being released.
Here's why Milan struck gold with Kevin Constant.
- Wins back the ball 3.4 times per league game, meaning he's going to dictate terms.
- 85 percent tackling percentage; nine percent higher than De Sciglio.
- Completes 2.2 dribbles per league game; 0.6 times more than Sebastian Giovinco.
Kevin's high intensity approach to the game makes him standout above the rest, hence why he's a mainstay in WhoScored's Team of the Week (matchday 16, 18, 21, 22, 23).
Why don't teams overload on Constant's flank when he goes into beast mode?
He does have some minor lapses in concentration and his tendency to think like a midfielder isn't condusive for defending in certain situations i.e. going in full-tilt as an opposing player attempts a dribble (could leave the entire left flank exposed).
That said, he is the face of Adriano Galliani's mercato policy—a nobody without Milan becoming a somebody with Milan.
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