Their careers are also somewhat different. While Alexei immediately began to enjoy the confidence of Lokomotiv coaches, Anton had to leave for Estonia in 2016 and go through a loan at the local Levadia. And this is no coincidence, because even teammates characterized Alexei as a great talent. For example, Vedran Chorluka once said: “Anton is a great talent, but, as for me, only Aleksey of the two of them can end up at the top level”. Moreover, Alexei was included in his list of the ten most talented young players a few years ago by Barcelona leader Lionel Messi.
Of course, such reviews are just a verbal recognition of Alexei Miranchuk’s talent, but the past season really showed that all the praise for this midfielder is far from groundless. The Russian scored 16 goals, two of which he spent in the Champions League, moreover, against Juventus itself. In two matches, Lokomotiv lost to Turin with the same score 1: 2, but both goals of the railroad in these duels are in the asset of Alexey Miranchuk, who began to justify advances given to him earlier.
His most famous goal is Alexey Miranchuk scored five years ago in the Russian Cup final against Kuban. Then the teams could not determine the winner in regulation time, and they had to play an additional half hour. Lokomotiv scored in the 104th minute, and already in the 111th minute Miranchuk buried the hopes of Krasnodar for a trophy. Alexei received the ball with his back to the goal, after which he turned around with a slight movement and simultaneously beat the first opponent. The subsequent spurt and outplaying one more opponent only added to the final accurate shot into the far corner, which the Kuban keeper could not cope with.
This ball is incredibly similar to those in ” Atalanta “often likes to score Josip Ilicic, slipping between opponents like the wind in a birch grove …
The transfer of Alexei Miranchuk to Atalanta is regarded by many as an attempt by the Bergamo club to find a replacement for the aging and moping team leader Josip Ilicic. Indeed, in the game of the Russian and the Slovenian there is something similar: both know how, when necessary, to turn on the speed and leave the defenders in a fool due to good ball control. To carry out a selection against Ilicic or Miranchuk is not an easy task for any bek, and the creativity of both is in perfect order.
However, Gasperini, after signing Miranchuk, insisted that the Russian would not become an alternative for Ilicic. But this, obviously, shows all the wisdom of the Atalanta coach, because he understands that the adaptation to Serie A can take Alexei a lot of time, and the injury that Miranchuk is currently healing will not contribute to quick integration into the new team. Therefore, Gasperini says that “we should not expect miracles from Miranchuk right away.”
On the other hand, Atalanta may face a serious problem already in the 2020/21 season. She showed up in the Champions League quarterfinals against Paris Saint-Germain, when the team from Bergamo was extremely close to triumph. Yes, Alejandro Gomez is the team’s brain, which provides it with the balance, but in the key game of the season, Atalanta just lacked the magic of Ilicic, who could “turn stone into gold” on the football field.
Without the Slovenian, the Bergamaski turned out to be a much more predictable and less dangerous team in the attack. It is no coincidence that it is Josip Ilicic who is the leader of Atalanta in terms of the average match indicator of the so-called “smart passes” – passes that lead to an aggravation of the game. There are 2.7 of those in the assets of the Slovene per game, which is the second indicator in Serie A at the end of the last season.
Yes, Malinovsky’s magnificent transformation at the end of the season made many people forget about Ilicic, but the Ukrainian was unable. And how can you replace a footballer who, in the championship, scored 15 goals and 5 assists in 1672 minutes spent on the field? This is pure magic, which Ilicic is in charge of in Atalanta.
Therefore, the current purchase of Alexei Miranchuk by Atalanta is a well-considered decision aimed at the near future. Probably, the 2020/21 season, and maybe another one, Ilicic will play in Bergamo, but then it’s time to think about a replacement in order to prevent a sudden collapse of the team’s attacking potential.
Ukrainian Malinovsky, as already mentioned, showed himself excellently at the end of the last season, but his characteristics on the field are seriously different from that given to Atalanta Ilicic. Ruslan is a less sophisticated footballer who can be called a hard-working craftsman, not a creator. Malinovsky has an amazing left leg, and also has a strong and accurate punch, which is his key “trick”, but his views on football are more strict and schematic than that of Ilicic, who is accustomed to considerable freedom of action.
Alexey Miranchuk on the contrary, it can bring more creativity to the game of Atalanta due to the ability to create unexpected moments. Let’s go back to the same goal against Kuban and admit that if he is not the most handsome in Alexey’s career, it is probably the most original one. The way Miranchuk beat the last defender before the strike is the pure difference between the game of the Russian and the same Malinovsky.
On the other hand, the game in Italy is very different from what Miranchuk got used to for so many years in Russia. The Russian’s ball control is far from perfect, and when he has losses, Alexei lacks the reactivity and desire to immediately enter the tackle and return possession to his team.
Besides, Miranchuk is making a lot of attempts to break through (last season – 2.8 per match), but the problem is that most of them come from long distances, which are extremely difficult to call convenient. To implement this function, “Atalanta” already has the same Malinovsky, and therefore Miranchuk will have to rebuild in favor of team actions.
The lack of quick thinking on the field, which the midfielder developed in the Russian championship, may also become a problem for Alexei. In the domestic Premier League, Miranchuk sometimes only had to play standing up to be successful without much ingenuity. The lack of dynamism is what distinguishes our football significantly from the top 5 European leagues, where most clubs rely on quick transitions from defense to attack, and vice versa. This will be the main problem in adapting Miranchuk to Serie A.
On the other hand, it should be noted that most of his actions in the final third of the field Alexey, albeit without dynamics, performs with his head raised. Thanks to this, Miranchuk became the best player in the Russian championship last season in terms of expected assists. This means that the Russian is able to diversify the game of Atalanta in attack, and with quality partners at the final stage, Alexei is quite capable of getting a decent number of assists in his debut season.
Although this probably sounds too optimistic. The first season in Italy will be a time for Miranchuk to adapt, and Alexey is very lucky that he fell into the hands of a coach who understands and subtly feels this moment. A similar process took place a year ago in Bergamo, Ukrainian Malinovsky, who had to sit on the bench in most of the fights of the first part of the season, when he had, first of all, to prove to Gasperini his worth in training, and not in official matches.
In January of this year, the coach of Atalanta, after the match with Inter, even said the following to Malinovsky: “At first Ruslan made several mistakes in the passes. I was ready to kill him. Malinovsky is a strong footballer, but he needs to make fewer mistakes. ” Similar “threats” should not be ruled out against Miranchuk. In Atalanta, the Russian must become more aggressive, tougher and certainly faster in his actions on the field.
In any case, what Atalanta has managed to surprise right now is its ability to negotiate the transfer of Miranchuk for only 14.5 million euros. Of course, you shouldn’t dump the coronavirus factor, but we all remember very well how last autumn the management of Lokomotiv announced that they were going to help out at least 85 million euros for the brothers, and if one of them leaves first, then by all means “ for more money than Golovin. ”
Oleksandr, we recall, cost Monaco 30 million euros, so Atalanta has already won at least a transfer victory in the situation with Miranchuk. It remains to be seen whether this deal will turn out to be a key one for the personnel policy of the Italian club for the next few years …