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Qasa Alom On January - 18 - 2011

Is Lazzari The Right Man For Milan?

As Andrea Lazzari looks set to follow ex-boss Allegri to Milan, Qasa Alom explains why this might be a bad move for all parties concerned.

Highly rated managers often have a tendency of taking former players with them to bigger clubs; Jose Mourinho took a fleet of players with him to Chelsea after winning the Champions League and subsequently brought R. Carvalho to Madrid too.  However is Massimiliano Allegri’s desire to bring his former disciple Andrea Lazzari necessary? I think not.

The rossoneri have kept faith –for better or for worse- with the same formation for almost the last decade now, in which the key has been a three man midfield and although over the years there has been some variation, such as the Christmas tree that worked so successfully in the ’07 Champions League, or Leonardo’s 4-2-Fantasia experiment last season, Allegri has inevitably returned to a 4312 this season.

The finer points of the formation, such as the brilliance of Pirlo’s deep lying playmaker role have been well documented all over the internet, particularly by the ever excellent Zonal Marking here, however this season with the players another year older, Allegri has been forced to tweak it slightly and chosen to move Pirlo out to the left of the midfield three. This has enabled Ambrosini to shift into centre and guarantee more protection for the defence.

Therefore it is difficult to see where Lazzari, an energetic and mobile left midfielder keen on getting forward with the ability to score goals, will fit into this team when Pirlo’s fit particularly as the Milanese giants have an almost carbon copy of the Cagliari man in K.P Boateng anyway.

That’s not to say that Milan aren’t in desperate need of a midfielder though. Despite the fact that Milan perch proudly at the top of the pile, 4 points clear with both the joint best attack and defence respectively, many of their performances have been far from convincing, often relying upon the brilliance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Moreover they have only won once in the last 4 games; a thoroughly unconvincing 1-0 victory with a goal from substitutes Rodney Strasser five minutes from time.

One of the biggest factors in this has been Milan’s inability to use possession effectively. The likes of Barcelona this season and Spain throughout the world cup have exemplified how possession football and dominating the midfield can be used as a defensive tactic; something that was also employed by Milan’s last scudetto winning side in 2004 as well. However the current side doesn’t possess enough comfortable ballplayers to facilitate this brand of football as the list of Milan’s midfielders used this season below demonstrates.

Ambrosini (33), Gattuso (33) Flamini (26) Strasser (20)

Seedorf (34) Boateng (23) Merkel (18)

Pirlo (31)

Evidently it can be seen that Milan have attempted to address the problem of ageing legs by adding in dynamic and hard working midfielders such as Flamini and Boateng. However there is a worrying lack of balance in the side as they are replete with industry, but lacking vision and creativity.This can be perfectly exemplified by Ibrahimovic’s goal against Lecce last weekend.

[jwplayer mediaid="5581"]

As the video illustrates the long hopeful ball up from Ambrosini is chased down by Zlatan upfront but there is a huge space in the middle and no link between Milan’s defence and attack. Therefore Milan would be wiser to start looking for players that can link midfield and attack, particularly as both Pirlo and Seedorf will be out of contract this summer.

So where does this leave Lazzari? Well at almost 27 years old now, the Milan born Atalanta youth-product is coming into the peak of his career and although a move to his hometown club under his mentor seems like a perfect scenario, it may not be the most suitable option for getting the best out of him. Indeed with a new Azzuri manager bringing in players from provincial clubs, Lazzari ought to have aspirations for EURO 2012 and should concentrate on breaking back into the Cagliari side and perform consistently before making the step up to a team fighting for Europe.

As for Allegri, if he really would like to bring one of his former players to Milanello and reminisce about life down in the South of Italy, he could do a lot worse than convince all parties to return Davide Astori to Milan. The imposing defender has more of a chance of making an impact and under Alessandro Nesta’s tutelage; he could even become the next in a distinguished line of long serving centre backs.

Qasa Alom

Broadcast Journalist. Writer for Serieaweekly, subtitled online or anyone else daft enough to want me. These are my thoughts (even the clever ones)

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