It seems like a transfer straight from the popular computer game Football Manager, but Wigan Athletic defender Antonee Robinson will really signal for seven-time European champions Milan.
The 22-year-old will signal for the Rossoneri to substitute Swiss Global Ricardo Rodríguez after his move into PSV. Robinson will play copy to Theo Hernández initially but the expectation is that he will compete with the prior Real Madrid defender in the long term.
But that’s Robinson’s new reality.
The question is why a club as illustrious as Milan, using their comparative prosperity, bulging trophy cabinet, and prestige, is shopping in the second tier of English soccer?
But Robinson also brings a pretty distinctive skills with him to Milan.
It is a necessity for full-backs in most systems to be comfortable carrying the ball forward and joining in the assault. When he gets on the ball, gets his head down and reaches high speed, he is more like an old-fashioned winger than a full-back.
It is no surprise more of the Latics’ strikes (38 percent ) are steered down the left than the right or throughout the centre.
This year, Robinson, who’s a whole USMNT international as his dad is American, has tried the second-most dribbles of any Championship full-back, 3.4 (per 90), finishing 1.98 (per 90) which ranks him among his peers.
Tall, athletic and quick, his rampaging runs trigger anxiety among opposition defences, drawing loads of fouls, pulling teams from the shape and getting into the playground with regularity.
There is an end product to all Robinson’s lung-busting runs, too. He ranks 12th in the Championship for finished crosses by a full-back with 0.83 (per 90) and takes 1.42 touches in the opposition’s box (per 90).
What makes Robinson’s sudden ascent even more notable is the fact Everton sold him to Wigan for only £1.3million last summer. Having impressed on loan in the DW Stadium last season, he makes the change permanent in July, signing a three-year contract.
Fast-forward less than six months and he’s set to join the European royalty. Far from being frustrated at losing a significant participant, Wigan boss Cook was thrilled for Robinson.
“Until it goes through, we won’t comment a great deal, but we are thrilled for the child,” Cook stated. “He is an absolute diamond of a young guy, he is one of our leaders in the dressing room and it is great to see his development over the 18 months he has been with us.”
Milan legend Paolo Maldini set the bar in regards to left-backs in the modern era. The hard work would have begun for Robinson if the deal would have gone through.