Soccer-Milan won’t sign players for the sake of it – Pioli

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Venezia v AC Milan - Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, Venice, Italy - January 9, 2022 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

ROME (Reuters) - AC Milan won’t sign players for the sake of it during the January transfer window, coach Stefano Pioli said on Sunday, despite the Italian club’s injury crisis in defence.

Simon Kjaer has been ruled out for the season, while Fikayo Tomori underwent knee surgery recently and Alessio Romagnoli has contracted COVID-19.

The absence of Milan’s top three centre backs has left youngsters Matteo Gabbia, 22, and Pierre Kalulu, 21, as the only remaining options.

"We want to sign players who improve the squad," Pioli told a news conference.

"We don’t want to bring someone in just to say we have bought a player. Kalulu and Gabbia are proving that they are ready to play in important games.

"If the right opportunity arrives, the club will be ready, but otherwise we will stay as we are.

"I hope Tomori will only miss three or four games. If it was up to him, he would play tomorrow. But we know that the recovery takes four weeks, and it is too soon to say if it will take a bit longer."

Pioli’s selection issues have not had a negative impact on recent form, as they are on a three-match winning run in Serie A ahead of the visit of Spezia on Monday.

Milan are second in the standings, one point behind leaders Inter, although the champions have a game in hand.

Spezia won their last two away games 1-0 against Napoli and Genoa and are 16th, three points clear of the relegation zone.

"We will need a great performance and to have clear ideas. We have always shown we are intelligent and responsible," Pioli said.

"We believe in ourselves; destiny is in our hands. If we play our game, we will win the match. They have some weak points and it’s up to us to exploit them."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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