Theo Hernandez is set to join Milan in a 20 million deal from Real Madrid. The 21-year old spent the last season on loan at Real Sociedad and will be looking to establish himself as a top player with AC Milan. Here’s a look at what the Frenchman brings to Milan:
Theo Hernandez's transfer formula is loan for 2M with option to buy in Milan's favour [Corriere della Sera] pic.twitter.com/7imdC1cM0E— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) July 1, 2019
Good Anticipation and Tackling
Theo has struggled to establish himself at Real Madrid but was an integral part of Real Sociedad’s defence as they attempted to nab a Europa League spot. Sociedad has a relatively tidy defensive record in the campaign thanks in part to Theo’s great work shutting down on the left side of the defense with with good anticipation of play and his strong tackling. Theo is visibly a strong tackler and has good timing when he goes in for the ball, he has also demonstrated a knack to block crosses from coming in with sliding tackles as well as pressuring wingers out of the box. Overall, he is a solid defender with lots of raw potential and a good understanding of the game.
Immense Dribbling and Passing Skills
This is a key plus Theo has over Ricardo Rodriguez. Theo is a great dribbler and is very good at holding the ball, alongside his dribbling he is good at short passes and builds up play on his own or through a series of one-two passes. He is the exact type of LB that Giampaolo needs as he is solid defensively but can switch into attacking mode and build up when necessary and when the ball is high up the pitch. Theo tends to do especially well on the counter but is good at running at the defence once in a while when play is stagnating and there are no open spaces to attack into.
In my opinion, this is the only distinguishing factor between Rodriguez and Theo and is a major reason why he has been brought in. His pace will be a huge boost to Milan’s attack and will be a focal point in Giampaolo’s attack where the wing backs will be asked to dart up the pitch very late to create and extra option as well as possibly put in a cross. Theo is very very fast and he does not lose the ball easily, thus he will be very important is supporting the possession based build up play break through at the last moment. Moreover, his speed will be an added bonus for Milan to be able to attack on the counter especially from the opponents’ corners.
Motivation to Succeed
At the end of the day, Theo has a lot to prove when he joins Milan. He is joining Milan the same summer that he brother is signing for Bayern Munich under very different circumstances. Theo is in need for a solid break whilst he brother has just landed the move of a lifetime. Theo at times has been called naive and has been criticised for losing concentration on the pitch. This will be an opportunity for him to establish himself and differentiate himself from Rodriguez and Diego Laxalt. It still remains to be seen whether Rodriguez will remain at Milan or be sold but Theo looks to have the starting spot according to reports.
Levante are the worst defence in La Liga and it’s easy to see why.— Brendy Boyle (@BrendyBoyle) March 15, 2019
Januzaj makes it La Real 1-0, a very easy goal. pic.twitter.com/ggq1n9KQNm
Square Balls and Crosses
Theo does not have spectacular numbers when it comes to assists but re-watching game highlights shows his good eye for squaring the ball into the box and putting crosses to the back post. There are countless instances where Theo finds the right man in the box and does exceptionally well to play the ball into the box on the ground. This will be particularly useful when he will be aiming for the two strikers and a CAM, these options and his pinpoint abilities will be an enhanced threat for Milan when they attack. This was another ability of his that stood out and Milan have lacked, quality balls into the box especially due to the abysmal delivery from Calhanoglu and Rodriguez from the left this past season.
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