M’Baye Niang’s time at AC Milan runs out as frustration will be lasting emotion

AC Milan forward M’Baye Niang arrived in London on Thursday morning as he looks set to complete a loan move to Watford, who will have an option to buy.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Watford have paid an initial €500,000 for the loan with an option to buy set at €18m at the end of the season depending on performance.

In turn, it marks a disappointing end to the 22-year-old’s time at the San Siro, as having joined the club in 2012, he has ultimately failed to deliver on all that promise.

His talent is undeniable. His pace, skill on the ball and technical ability all make him a quality young talent. However, merely having that talent isn’t enough and the truly great players maximise their qualities and have the desire to get to the top.

Niang spent five seasons with the Rossoneri, with his best goal return being five in 16 appearances in the 2015/16 campaign. He served a reminder to those at the club of what he is capable of during his loan spell with Genoa in 2014/15 where he bagged five in 14, but again this season he fell short of expectations.

With just three goals in 18 appearances, question marks were raised over his application and attitude with mediocre performance after another and an almost visible disinterest in the final few games, the end was coming for Vincenzo Montella in terms of his patience.

The Italian tactician has worked well with the other young players at his disposal this season, with the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli and Manuel Locatelli all coming on and improving.

In contrast, Niang went the other way. And now that is why he finds himself in his current position as he looks forward to embarking on a new adventure in the Premier League.

For all that talent, it was simply outweighed by large spells of frustration over an ability to consistently deliver when it mattered. From his decision-making to his maturity and back to his mental application, it just hasn’t worked out at Milan and it probably never will.

If it does work at Watford, it’s not a mistake on Milan’s behalf. Niang needs a fresh challenge and a new club where he can express himself and showcase all his talents. Unfortunately, he wasn’t suited to the San Siro, but perhaps we’ll see the best of him moving forward now that he’s moved on.

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