Pato and Huntelaar: The New Sheva and Pippo?
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar appears to be the first major signing Milan has made this season. And it is a great signing. In Huntelaar, Milan has gotten the perfect complement for Alexandre Pato.
One of the things that has been clear so far in Milan’s preseason is that they have had trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. One of the only players that has been able to score has been Filippo Inzaghi, and Huntelaar is a similar player in many respects. This bodes well for the team’s attack this season.
Pato has recently come out and said that he is not strong enough to be a true center forward. Although Pato plays very physically for his size, this statement is probably accurate. He is a blend of a center forward and a trequartista, and he is highly effective in that combination role.
However, the closest thing he has ever been paired with to a true CF is Inzaghi, and they have not spent a ton of time playing together. Playing next to Klaas could help bring his game to a whole new level.
Huntelaar is a legitimate “No. 9” type striker. He can score with both his left and right foot, and with his head. Over the course of his career, he has an extremely impressive goal total, and he still has room to grow, as he is only 25. He has racked up a lot of goals on every team he has played for.
Even at Real Madrid last term, he managed to return from a leg injury to score eight goals in 20 appearances, which really is pretty solid. He has the potential to put up somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-25 goals next season for Milan.
When Pato and Huntelaar develop a rapport with one another, it will make Milan’s attack scary for the teams that they have to play. With the creative skills of Pirlo and Ronaldinho backing them, there should be plenty of chances for the strikers.
Klaas will score goals and take some of the attention away from Pato, which will, in turn, lead to more scores. And while this will help to open up the attack, it will also help the midfield, as a player that would have been marking Pirlo might have to mark Huntelaar or Pato. This makes Gattuso and Flamini’s job of keeping the playmaker clean considerably easier.
While it would be a stretch to compare pretty much any striker duo to Sheva and Inzaghi, the pair of Pato and Huntelaar have the potential to do it. Pato, like Sheva, is the more complete player, and while they both set up chances, they also do a great job at finishing them. Klaas shares many of Pippo’s best qualities, but I think he is a more polished, all-around player, and he possesses more technical skills and has the chance to create more goals for other players.
If both Pato and Huntelaar continue to work to the best of their tremendous abilities, it could be the foundation of the new Milan, and their fans could look forward to a bright, potential-filled, future.
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