By Trevor Stynes
Aug 17 (Reuters) - AC Milan have been the most active Serie A club during the transfer window as they look to recapture the Scudetto, but still look like they need further investment in key areas.
Stefano Pioli's side won the league two years ago, but last season finished fourth, 20 points behind champions Napoli.
That earned Milan Champions League football, but only after a points deduction for Juventus because of false accounting.
Milan beat Napoli in last season's Champions League quarter-finals to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2007, before losing to city rivals Inter.
The start of the close season offered little reason for optimism at Milan, with Paolo Maldini being sacked as Technical Director and Zlatan Ibrahimovic retiring.
The Swedish striker played only four games last season, but was an important leader in the squad.
Next came the loss of key midfielder Sandro Tonali, sold to Newcastle United for 64 million euros ($69.9 million).
"This group has done a lot, but I think some changes are needed. Proving to be successful even without Ibrahimovic is one of the challenges," Pioli said during pre-season.
Milan spent 110 million euros ($120 million) to bolster their squad with the arrival of eight players.
The incomings could also enforce a tactical change -- Pioli has mostly used a 4-2-3-1 formation over the last two seasons, but now looks set to go with 4-3-3.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek's arrival from Chelsea adds physicality to the midfield where he will be partnered with fellow new signing Tijjani Reijnders.
The Dutchman scored seven goals in 54 appearances for AZ Alkmaar last season.
Yunus Musah has also been added to midfield, and though the 20-year-old American may have to bide his time in Italy, he is no stranger to playing in the top flight having featured regularly for Valencia in La Liga the last three seasons.
Rafael Leao has been Milan's standout player over the last four seasons and his attacking threat from the left might finally be matched on the right with the addition of Samuel Chukwueze.
The Nigerian winger is one of the most exciting new talents in Serie A, scoring 37 goals in 207 games over five seasons at Valencia.
Milan signed Christian Pulisic from Chelsea to give Pioli even more attacking options.
The American can play on either wing and is looking to make a fresh start after a disappointing time in the Premier League.
Pioli may have more strength in attack but still needs a proven scorer as backup for juventus drakt Olivier Giroud, who turns 37 in September.
Noah Okafor, the 23-year-old Swiss forward who scored against Milan in Europe last season, was brought in from Salizburg, but may need time to settle and Milan have also been linked with Chelsea's Armando Borja.
Pioli's side conceded 31 goals in their Scudetto-winning season, which increased to 43 last season, but they have yet to invest in their backline.
They are in the hunt for a central defender as well as a striker and will have a shot at the title if they can bring in the players Pioli wants before the transfer window closes on Sept.
Milan may not begin the season as favourites, but success would bring renewed faith in Pioli while failure would surely spell the end for the manager who needs to get his team up and running quickly with a tough start to the campaign.
Milan begin away to Bologna on Monday and face both AS Roma and Inter in their opening four games.
($1 = 0.9177 euros) (Reporting by Trevor Stynes, editing by Ed Osmond)
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