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Frank Tigani On February - 4 - 2011

Milan’s January Transfer Campaign Analysed

This year’s January transfer was one of the busiest in recent memory. There were major transfers across Europe, particularly in England and in Italy. Amongst the major movers and shakers of the January transfer window was AC Milan.

Milan Debut Their Signings Against Sampdoria

It speaks volumes of the club that, despite entering the New Year top of the table, they felt the need to bring in a number of reinforcements. Here we analyse the purchases Milan have made this past January and whether they will help Milan in its bid for this season’s Scudetto.

Antonio Cassano

The former Bari prodigy is arguably the most talented Italian player today. Signed by the club for pittance after his sacking by Ricardo Garrone, the President of Sampdoria, Cassano is a player of immense ability but made up of an equally volatile character.

Antonio Cassano

Given his troubled history by signing Cassano the club has taken a risk, but, if his early displays are anything to go by he may just prove to be the signing of the season. A player that has never lived up to his potential, it may just be that Cassano himself realises this and at 28 years of age he may now possess mental capacity to finally deliver. Indeed, this may be his last chance to do so.

With Alexandre Pato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Filippo Inzaghi, who will soon return to action, it may have seemed that Cassano was not necessary. However, the opposite is true. Milan lacked a player like Cassano, a trequartista as they are called in Italy, who possesses that magical ability to turn matches with one stroke of genius. If Cassano can keep his head and focus on his football, then at a reported fee of €2.5 million, his transfer represents a great piece business by Milan.

Already, Cassano has proved a great signing with his impressive displays and should he continue in such a vein he will play a major role in Milan’s push for the title.

Urby Emmanuelson

Originally it was thought that Urby Emmanuelson was brought to Milan to play as a left back. After all, the club had been searching for a left back for a long time and the Dutchman, despite a season as a left midfielder, has spent most of his career as a left full back.

Urby Emanuelson

But, in his first three appearances for Milan, Emmanuelson has been deployed as a midfielder. And not as a left sided midfielder either, but as one of three central midfielders. There is one reason for this; Milan’s injury crisis in the middle of the park has been horrendous. Virtually all of the six recognised midfielders at the club have been for the most part unavailable for the past two or three weeks.

Consequently, Emmanuelson has not only had to try and adapt to a new brand of football, but he has had to do so in a position unfamiliar to him. But, his performances have been satisfactory, though not great.

Once touted as a player with a big future, Emmanuelson never really lived up to this billing. Though he is not world class player there is no doubt about his quality. His addition to the squad is a benefit not only for his quality, but for the versatility he has shown already. Once Milan’s injury crisis ends, most likely the Dutchman will find himself back at his more accustomed left back role. Then, Milan fans will start to see what he really has to offer.

At only 24 years of age, the energy and drive that comes with such an age is also a welcome addition to a squad that relies on perhaps one too many veterans still.

Didac Vila

Given the current generation of Spanish footballers that are arguably the most talented today, Didac Vila, himself a former Under 21 International, must be a player of some quality. Admittedly, before Milan signed the young Spaniard, little was known about him.

Didac Vila

It is nice to see Milan sign a young and talented player who has at least the potential to become a better player for the club. However, it is hard to see the Vila getting much of a chance to impress or improve.

Luca Antonini will probably remain as first back up once Emmanuelson is moved to left back which means Vila may see more of the bench in the next five months than action on the field.

There is also a question mark over Spanish players playing in the Serie A. Historically, Italian football has not been a happy hunting ground for Spanish footballers and this was most evident in the last two Spanish players that tried to cut it with the Rossoneri. Both Jose Mari and Javi Moreno were complete both flops at Milan.

Hopefully with Vila, if he can get some playing time, it will not be the same case.

Mark van Bommel

Mark van Bommel

Given Milan’s midfield injury crisis it is no surprise to see Mark van Bommel arrive at the club. Currently the captain of the Dutch national side, van Bommel’s contract at Bayern was coming to an end this summer which enabled Milan to pick him up on a free transfer.

Van Bommel is a highly experienced player and has been one of the better defensive midfielders in the game for the last decade. An aggressive competitor, the Dutchman is a great reader of the game and possesses a much underrated passing ability.

Given his vast experience, leadership and world class quality, van Bommel should fit into the team quite readily and will prove a valuable addition to the squad as the club chases the Scudetto. Like Legrottaglie, he is a short term rental so to speak, having signed a contract with the club for just six months.

Nicola Legrottaglie

This was a panic buy. Milan’s midfield crisis has forced Max Allegri to push Thiago Silva into midfield which has left Milan a little light at the back. With the Brazilian being utilised as a midfielder, at least until the midfield regulars return, Allegri has only Mario Yepes, Sokratis and Daniele Bonera to call upon in central defence. Remember that Alessandro Nesta is also currently injured.

Nicola Legrottaglie

This was the motive behind the club’s decision to buy the journey man from Juventus. But, with Sokratis, Bonera and Yepes available and with Nesta due to be back in a couple of weeks, it is still debatable whether buying Legrotagglie for six months is worth it.

Last summer Milan sent three youth players plus four and half million Euros to Genoa in order to secure Sokratis’ signature. Admittedly, the Greek starlet did not enjoy an easy first few months at Milan but he is still a young player at only 22 years old. The purchase of Legrottaglie is more of an admission by the club that they made a mistake buying Sokratis. But this is also not true. Sokratis has been performing much better recently.

For a player of such an age, who has the potential to develop into a capable centre half, he needs to play more football in order to continue getting better. The arrival of Legrottaglie, who is only with the club for six months, may prevent this from happening for the young Sokratis.

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  • Anthony

    Milan had a great winter transfer campaign.

    They made some key buys to reinforce their injured midfield. I think these purchases will go a long way in Milan’s title push, which I think they’ll win.

    Galliani made 5 signings for less than 10 million.

    From what I’ve seen of Emanuelson, he looks like a good player. He definitely has pace,techinical ability’s, and he’ll add some width to Milan’s attack.

    Signing VB is also looking like a great buy, he’s a World Class player, and with Ambrosini out for 6-8 weeks, he’ll prove to be a key player, even if he’ll leave a few players in the hospital.

    Then of course there’s Cassano, I don’t think I need to explain that crazy guy…he’s the best Italian player at the moment.

    As a Napoli supporter, I can say I’m somewhat jealous of the work that Galliani put in…and I laugh at Juve. Seriously, Marrotta can learn a thing, or two from Uncle Fester.

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