Samuel Chukwueze: Why has the Super Eagles star been labelled ‘disappointment of the season’?

Samuel Chukwueze has not been at his best at AC Milan since last summer’s move from Villarreal (Credit: Imago)

Samuel Chukwueze: Why has the Super Eagles star been labelled ‘disappointment of the season’?

Seye Omidiora 09:36 - 04.03.2024

The Nigeria international has not been at his best at AC Milan since last summer’s move from Villarreal.

Nigeria and AC Milan forward Samuel Chukwueze has been criticised for continued underwhelming showings since moving to the Rossoneri from Villarreal.

The Super Eagles man switched clubs at the start of the 2023-24 season after five campaigns in the Yellow Submarine’s first team but has not shown anything close to his best in Serie A, leading to continued criticism of the 24-year-old, who cost Milan an initial €20m.

Underwhelming Chukwueze

Sky Sport Italia’s Peppe Di Stefano is the latest to disapprove of the ex-Villarreal man, who does not consider Chukwueze a decent option for Stefano Pioli on the right wing.

“Pioli has got many players back and therefore is no longer in an emergency and has a good squad in terms of numbers,” said the journalist on Sky via Sempre Milan.

“He doesn’t have great alternatives at right wing because Chukwueze is the disappointment of the season. Only 10 starts and a few minutes for a player who hasn’t shown the qualities he showed with Villarreal.”

Samuel Chukwueze
Samuel Chukwueze reacts to a missed opportunity against Dortmund in the Champions League (Credit: Imago/Beautiful Sports)

Do the stats validate Di Stefano’s Chukwueze criticism?

Chukwueze was signed as part of an approach to improve the quality of Milan’s squad after Sandro Tonali’s sale to Newcastle United. The intention to strengthen the squad and wean the Rossoneri off their Rafael Leao over-reliance has been mixed, with acquisitions like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic thriving in year one in Milanello.

However, Chukwueze has struggled to flourish in his first season outside Villarreal, struggling to impact games as a starter or substitute in Serie A. The Super Eagles forward has not found the back of the net in the league despite making 15 appearances, albeit from seven starts.

Strikingly, Chukwueze was an unused substitute in Milan’s last two league games against Atalanta and Lazio, with Pioli last playing the erstwhile Villarreal man in the Rossoneri’s Europa League playoff tie with Ligue 1 side Rennes on February 22.

The Nigerian has saved his best for continental football, underscored by impacting Milan’s Champions League group-stage campaign with goals against Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United, with the latter all but securing continued European participation for Pioli’s men in the new year.

Samuel Chukwueze
Samuel Chukwueze scored the winner for AC Milan against Newcastle (Image credit: Super Sport/X)
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What comes next for Chukwueze and Milan?

Chukwueze seeks to return to the side for Milan’s Europa League last-16 first-leg tie with Slavia Prague on Thursday, as the European giants aim to secure an assertive win over their Czech opponents before next week’s return leg.

In Serie A, Chukwueze and his teammates host Empoli and travel to Hellas Verona on March 10 and 17 before this month's international break.