Football Manager 2020: AC Milan Team Guide – Tactics, formations, transfer targets & more

Once the best side in European football, you can take the club back to those glory days.

George Howson by George Howson
fm 20 ac milan team guide

It seems hard to believe now, but AC Milan were the best side in Europe in the mid-2000s.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Rossinerri swept everyone aside, winning the UEFA Champions League and multiple domestic titles.

The past decade has been a dry one though, with the club only winning one Supercoppa Italia since their 2011 Serie A title.

With a high-spending board and a good squad at your disposal though, it is possible to get Milan back to the big time within a few years.

It won’t be easy, but we’ve got your covered with our ultimate guide to success while managing AC Milan in Football Manager 2020!

Club vision

AC Milan FM20 Club Vision
REALISTIC: AC Milan’s board set you fair targets for your first few seasons

This new feature has been a big success in FM20.

It is both a short-term and long-term set of goals for the club under your direction, as laid out by the board.

It includes play style aims, financial targets, and competition results, with increasing expectations over each year of your tenure.

READ MORE: FM20: Chelsea Team Guide

AC Milan’s board have surprisingly realistic expectations for your first few seasons as manager.

For Serie A, the board only require that you qualify for next season’s Europa League (top six).

Milan aren’t in European competition for your first season, so achieving this and a semi-final appearance in the Coppa Italia is very achievable.

Going further forward, the board want you to gain a return to the Champions League at the end of 2020-21 before challenging for the league title in the following seasons.

READ MORE: FM20 Real Madrid Guide

When it comes to your signings, the board only ask that you to sign players under the age of 30 and if possible, under 23 years old. They also don’t mind what nationality nor reputation incoming players have, you have complete freedom in this regard.

With regards to your tactics, no expectations have been given, so you’re free to choose how you want the team to approach games.

Tactical style & formation

AC Milan FM20 Tactics
NARROW: Most of your side’s talent is concentrated centrally

AC Milan have a good advantage over most of the league’s sides so you can afford to be positive with your tactical approach.

Gengenpress is the best with vertical tiki-taka and fluid counter-attack are also recommended approaches.

The 4-4-2 diamond narrow is probably the best formation you can opt for, as most of your best players are best utilised in central positions.

4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 are also good options for formations, while the 5-3-2 could be used when playing away against the fellow big Serie A sides.

Your starting 11 should be Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, with a back four of Andrea Conti, Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez.

READ MORE: Wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga is a must-buy in FM20

Lucas Biglia is your defensive midfielder with Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie as your central midfield pair.

Your sole attacking midfielder is Lucas Paqueta who will provide service to your striking pair of Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao.

Your twelve (yes, that’s right in Italy) on the bench should be Asmir Begovic, Antonio Donnarumma, Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria, Samu Castillejo, Hakan Calhanoglu, Diego Laxalt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rade Krunic, Giacomo Bonaventura, Leo Duarte and Matteo Gabbia.

Best players

AC Milan have a squad that’s able to challenge at the right end of the Serie A table and one that’s only going to improve thanks to its young average age.

Here are the top five players on Milan’s books in terms of their current ability (CA) at the start of FM20:

PlayerPosAgeCA/PABest Stats
Gianluigi DonnarummaGK20155/160-19018 reflexes, 18 jumping reach, 16 strength
Alessio RomagnoliD (C)24152/15917 anticipation, 16 marking, 16 stamina
Theo HernandezD/WB/M (L)21149/15916 acceleration, 16 pace, 16 stamina
Giacomo BonaventuraM/AM (LC)29147/15515 off the ball, 15 determination, 15 technique
Franck KessieDM, M (C)22146/15919 stamina, 18 balanace, 18 strength

Gianluigi Donnarumma is undoubtedly the star of this side. He’s only a few CA points ahead of Alessio Romagnoli but his potential ability (PA) of up to 190 makes him one of the top prospects at the club.

Kessie, Hernandez and Romagnoli will all improve in the coming years and can be a key part of this Rossoneri side’s success. Bonaventura is the oldest of this group but can still contribute for at least another three seasons.

Young talent

While the board don’t mind who you buy or where they’re from, optimising your youth academy is never a bad idea. Milan have produced some brilliant young talent over the years including Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and the legendary Paolo Maldini.

The first name on this list is also a future star that will likely go down alongside the aforementioned greats:

Gianluigi Donnarumma – CA 4 star (155), PA 5 star (160-190)

Gianluigi Donnarumma FM20 attributes
THE NEW BUFFON: It’ll be difficult to keep a hold of this superstar between the sticks

Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of, if not the, biggest prospect when it comes to the future of goalkeeping.

After the international retirement of the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, Donnarumma is now the undisputed #1 for the Italian national team at the age of just 20!

READ MORE: FM20: Arsenal team guide

Stats of 18 jumping reach, 18 reflexes and 16 anticipation take him to a CA of 155, making him the 14th best goalkeeper on FM20.

His potential between 160 and 190 gives him the second-highest ceiling behind Manuel Neuer and Donnarumma will most likely become the best in the world once the German retires.

It’ll be very tough for you to keep hold of him, as the likes of Juve have already been snooping around.

Rafael Leao – CA 3 star (135), PA 4 star (140-170)

Rafael Leao FM20 attributes

Rafael Leao is another youngster that should be playing regularly in your side.

The Portuguese striker isn’t far off getting his first cap for the senior side and has a good number of appearances for AC Milan.

READ MORE: Sports Interactive’s best clubs to manage on Football Manager 2020

With a PA of up to 170, he can become a vital member of your squad’s future success, even if he’s coming off the bench as an impact sub.

Attributes like his 16 pace, 16 balance, 15 agility and 13 finishing warrant Leao starting Coppa Italia games in your first season as manager.

Marco Brescianini – CA 1.5 star (95), PA 4.5 star (140-170)

Marco Brescianini FM20 attributes

Marco Brescianini is another player with a PA up to 170 but his CA of 95 leaves a lot to be desired.

At 19 though, the Italian has plenty of time to grow and he should be loaned out to a Serie A or B club for the first two seasons of your tenure.

READ MORE: FM20: All the best contract expiry signings

The central midfielder does possess some encouraging attributes though, 15 determination, 16 natural fitness, and 12 passing will do him no harm.

Transfer targets

AC Milan FM20 financial projections

Starting transfer budget: £21.5 million

Remaining wage budget: £17,000 a week

Milan’s financial figures and projections look very good despite the lack of silverware over the previous decade. 

Your annual transfer budget is set to increase to around £120m over the next three seasons as the board attempt to catch Juventus.

The wage budget is to remain very steady, as turnover increases slightly.

The club will still be turning over a profit though, at least £50m each season.

This all means the money in the bank is set to rocket up to over £200m by the end of the 2021-22 season.

READ MORE: All the best left midfielders (ML & AML) to sign in FM20

If we’re being critical, Milan’s squad is solid but unspectacular for the most part.

Most positions are covered by good players but there aren’t many that will be feared or revealed by their fellow players.

The weakest position when you join is probably right-back, as you’ve only got two first-year players that are adept at this.

When the transfer and wage budgets are adjusted properly, you have a budget of around £15m to go shopping.

Nelson Semedo FM20 attributes
GREAT COVER: Hans Hateboer would be a solid addition to your squad

Hans Hateboer of Atalanta would be a good addition to your squad but getting a hold of him might prove to be difficult.

AC Milan are a bigger club than Atalanta but the latter is in the Champions League during your first season, so getting the Dutchman to sign a deal could be tricky.

At 25, Hateboer isn’t the youngest option but he’s got a bright future still ahead of him.

His physical stats are incredible from the off and while his technical attributes aren’t the best, the his mental are also great.

Alternative options

If Hateboer doesn’t sound like the player you’re looking for, consider these other players instead:

Name Age Club Country CA/PA Value Wage
Mattia De Sciglio 26 Juventus Italy 143/147 £13.5m £92k
Timothy Castagne 23 Atalanta Belgium 142/149 £13.75m £16.75k
Bernardo24 Brighton Brazil 129/146 £12m £27k

Future transfers

Moving forward, there are quite a few positions that need strengthening. Some extra strength in depth at attacking midfield centre (AMC) won’t go amiss.

You’ll also have the funds to make a marquee signing here, especially if you’re in the Champions League.

There’s no reason why you won’t be able to go in for the likes of James Maddison, Mario Pasalic or Donny van de Beek at the start of your second season.

READ MORE: The best wonderkid midfielders in Football Manager 2020

Zlatan probably won’t be good enough after your first season to start many games (although don’t rule it out!) Either way, a new striker won’t go amiss, so Diogo Jota, Richarlison and Federico Chiesa should be your targets.

Contracts

AC Milan FM20 Contracts
PRECARIOUS: Milan have a lot of work to do to secure their best players’ loyalty

At the start of your save, instead of looking for new players, your main focus should be to preserve the ones you already have.

The loan deals for Simon Kjaer and Asmir Begovic both end at the conclusion of your first season and probably won’t be worth keeping on a permanent basis.

Ibrahimovic is an interesting player, he could be worth keeping for another campaign but he’ll be 38 in summer 2020.

Lucas Biglia could be offered another year but at 33, you can and should get a replacement in the summer.

Bonaventura should be offered a new contract, he’s still one of the most talented players in the squad.

READ MORE: Best young goalkeepers (GK) to sign in Football Manager 2020

The real work though surrounds those players whose deals expire in summer 2021.

Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract ends at the conclusion of your second season and you need to secure him to a long term deal during your first campaign or you’ll likely lose him for a cut-price.

The deals for Musacchio, Calhanoglu, Ricardo Rodriguez and Rebic also end and it’s probably worth keeping all of them at the club.

Back to the big time

It’s hard to set a long-term goal when your club is already winning almost all of the silverware that it can but there is one trophy that’s been missing in Munich for most of the past decade.

The Bundesliga title and German cup win are almost expected these days but success on the continent has been hard to come by.

Bayern last won the UEFA Champions League back in 2013 and victory in Europe’s highest competition would go a long way to pleasing their notoriously difficult fanbase.

READ MORE: All the best right wingers (MR & AMR) in Football Manager 2020

You’ll have to spend big to do this, that’s the reality of modern football, but maintaining the best youth academy in Germany and one of the best in the world will help you massively.

It is debatable whether competition in your domestic league helps or hinders your European campaign but being able to potentially rest your best players for the midweek clashes would be beneficial.

The ultimate goal would be to win the champions league and with one of the biggest budgets and best facilities on the continent at your disposal, this is definitely achievable.

Full AC Milan player ratings

PlayerAgePosRoleDutyRole AbilityCA/PA
Starting lineup
Gianluigi Donnarumma20GKSKDefend4 star155/160-190
Andrea Conti25D/WB/M (R)FBDefend3 star139/149
Mateo Musacchio28D (C)BPDDefend3.5 star140/153
Alessio Romagnoli24D (C)BPDDefend4 star152/159
Theo Hernandez21D/WB/M (L)WBSupport3.5 star149/159
Lucas Biglia33DM, M (C)DLPDefend3 star138/161
Ismael Bennacer21DM, M (C)DLPDefend3 star142/163
Franck Kessie22DM, M (C)BBMSupport3.5 star146/159
Lucas Paqueta21M/AM (C)AMSupport3 star143/159
Rafael Leao20AM (C), STCFAttack3 star135/140-170
Ante Rebic25M (L), AM (RLC), STIWSupport3 star139/150
Substitutes & Reserves
Asmir Begovic32GKSKDefend2.5 star131/160
Antonio Donnarumma29GKSKDefend2 star112/117
Simon Kjaer30D (C)CDDefend3.5 star139/155
Davide Calabria22D (RL), WB/M (R)WBDefend3 star139/149
Samu Castillejo24M (RL), AM (RLC)WBSupport3 star141/159
Hakan Calhanoglu25M (LC), AM (RLC)IWSupport3.5 star146/153
Diego Laxalt26D/WB/M/AM (L)WBSupport3 star135/143
Zlatan Ibrahimovic37STDLFSupport3.5 star143/185
Rade Krunic25M (C), AM (RC)MEZSupport3 star134/145
Giacomo Bonaventura29M/AM (LC)IWSupport3.5 star147/155
Leo Duarte22D (C)BPDDefend2.5 star127/143
Matteo Gabbia19D (C), DM, M (C)BPDDefend2 star102/120-150
Alexis Saelemaekers20D/WB/M (R), AM (RL)WSupport2 star118/120-150
Luan Capanni19AM (C), STAFAttack1.5 star94/120-150
Emanuele Torrasi20DM, M (C)MEZSupport1.5 star91/110-140

George Howson

a