Football

Published on July 18th, 2017 | by Peter Coates

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Lucas Biglia: Milan’s midfield general for the campaign to come

Lucas Biglia’s arrival in San Siro from Lazio may have been overlooked after the news of Bonucci, but it could be the club’s shrewdest move

It may not have the wow-factor of the signing of Leonardo Bonucci or the glamour of a potential deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alvaro Morata but Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia is another important part of AC Milan’s summer revolution.

The Rossoneri’s new Chinese owners have immediately looked to put a season of disappointment behind them and overseen an extravagant spending spree that could reach the €200 million mark by the time a big-name striker arrives at the San Siro.

Biglia became Milan’s ninth addition of the window over the weekend after completed deals for compatriot Mateo Musacchio, Atalanta pair Franck Kessie and Andrea Conti, Portuguese striker Andre Silva, Swiss full-back Ricardo Rodriguez, Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, Italian Fabio Borini, and of course the €40 million capture of Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci.

After finishing in sixth, a whopping 28 points shy of champions Juventus, Milan are looking to recapture the glory that is associated with a club of its stature and while a number of the young, talented signings will excite supporters, Biglia brings a wealth of Serie A experience, undoubted leadership quality and an underrated midfield presence.

Judging by Biglia’s welcome party upon arriving in Milan, those supporters appear to recognize just that and Lazio will be all too aware how much they will miss their captain.

Since signing for the Biancocelesti in 2013, Biglia has been an ever-present and consistent performer in the centre of midfield. A fierce competitor, tigerishly winning back possession and an effective, efficient passer of the ball that has provided the team with a fulcrum to build upon. 

The understated, unfashionable and somewhat ugly job that Biglia does is at times undervalued; ignored in the event of triumph and ridiculed in defeat, as has often been the case with Argentina, when in truth, the team’s system was at fault.

Captaining the Argentina under-17s to the 2003 South American Championships and third in the World Cup, Biglia went on to form part of the famous under-20 side that lifted the coveted trophy. Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero deservedly stole the headlines but Biglia was quietly establishing himself as one of the most promising midfield talents in world football.

That highly talented generation still form the spine of La Albiceleste today but only a handful can claim to have performed as consistently and for as long in European, senior-level football as Biglia.

The mature, well-rounded displays at youth level were backed by breaking into the Argentinos Juniors first team at eighteen and subsequently impressing at Independiente, prompting Anderlecht to secure something of a coup and bring the youngster to Belgium in 2006.

After six years at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, more than 200 appearances, four league titles, a league cup and four SuperCups, Biglia had developed from young footballer of the year in 2007 to seasoned international footballer and was eager to take the next step.

Lazio provided that for around €8.4 million and the past four seasons have proven that money well spent.

The Rome club pocket a healthy profit, raking in an initial €17 million (a figure that could rise to €20 million) for the 31-year-old and Biglia has probably a last chance to play for one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

“Lazio will always be in my heart, but my decision to join Milan is for sporting reasons,” Biglia told reporters on arrival and given the new owners ambitious signings, it’s hard to argue.

Making up ground on the likes of Roma and Juventus will not be easy and will certainly take far more than just an open cheque-book but what Biglia should provide Vincenzo Montella with is an immediately robust and competitive midfield.

At 31 years of age, Biglia may not be a signing for Milan’s long-term future but the younger players will need to lean on an experienced general at times during the season and in the short-term, he could prove vital in returning to the Champions League.

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About the Author

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Peter is a British football writer living in Buenos Aires, who specialises on Argentine football. His passion for the game in South America took him to Argentina in 2011 and aside from starting his own site ‘Golazo Argentino’, he has covered the national side for The Independent and acts as WhoScored’s expert on the Primera División.



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