Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

AC Milan head into the off season wondering what could have been as they bowed out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage against Barcelona and finished second in Serie A behind Juventus by only four points. There is, of course, no shame in being knocked out of Europe by one of the best teams in the world or losing out on the league title to only the third undefeated side in league history; however, the Rossoneri had high hopes on retaining the scudetto this season and making a real mark in Europe. Now they must focus on where to improve in order to surpass this seasonā€™s results.

Milan will be entering the first part of a huge rebuilding phase, as several senior players are either retiring or leaving the club. Filippo Inzaghi, Rino Gattuso, Mark van Bommel, Gianluca Zambrotta, Alessandro Nesta, and Clarence Seedorf are all leaving the club once their contracts expire in June (there is the chance that Seedorf will resign). Nevertheless, they will need to find replacements for all these players, even if some rarely featured for one reason or another. Milan also did not exercise the loan options on either Liverpool-owned midfielder Alberto Aquilani or Maxi Lopez. However, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has stated earlier this week that while they are not going to purchase Aquilani per his current loan contract, they will try to negotiate a lower price with the Merseyside club during the summer.

Anticipating their midfield exodus, the Rossoneri have already brought in two players on free transfers in the form of Riccardo Montolivo and Bakaye Traore. Most calcio fans already know plenty about Montolivo from his exploits with Fiorentina and the Azzurri, however, Traore is relatively unknown outside of France. The Malian international has been described as an all-action midfielder and is fairly tidy with the ball as well, boasting a pass completion rate of 82.9% with AS Nancy this past season. It can be assumed that Traore will be a direct replacement for van Bommel.

On the defensive front, there is still a hole at left-back that remains to be filled. Milan attempted to solve this problem last summer, bringing in Nigerian international Taye Taiwo on a free transfer from Marseille; however, he had failed to adapt to Serie A, and was sent on loan to Queens Park Rangers during the winter transfer window. Taiwoā€™s future still remains uncertain with Milan as rumor have quickly started to circulate that the league runners-up are interested in Manchester Cityā€™s Aleksandar Kolarov; however, Galliani recently refuted claims they were going after the Serbian. The future of on loan defender Djamel Mesbah must also be resolved, as his parent club Lecce was relegated from the league; does Milan buy him in full, or do they send him back to the Salento? And in the event he is bought, is Mesbah the answer at left-back?

Milan may need to go after reinforcements in the center of defense as well with the departure of Nesta and the potential transfer of Thiago Silva. A massive offer would have to come Milanā€™s way for them to even consider losing what many consider to be the best center-back in the world. Nevertheless, Milan does have an ageing backline and investing in some younger talent (such as Francesco Acerbi) would be wise.

As far as the attack goes, things donā€™t look too bad so long as Zlatan Ibrahimovic sticks around. Along with Robinho, the return of Antonio Cassano, and the Ā emergence of Stephan El Sharaawy, Serie Aā€™s best offense is in good hands. The only worry is the health of Alexandre Pato, who missed a large chunk of the season to various injuries; if the Brazilian can somehow remain healthy for the majority of the season, it will practically be like a new signing for the club.

A rejuvination process needs to begin at the San Siro, considering the age of other older players such as Massimo Ambrosini, Mario Yepes, and Christian Abbiati. There is already a set of good, young players to build around, such as Antonio Nocerino, Ignazio Abate, and El Sharaawy; it is now just a matter of adding high-quality players to fill in the gaps, thus giving the Rossoneri the chance to improve on their quarterfinal showing in the Champions League.

Comments are closed.

Featured Skills Video

    Write for Serie A Weekly!

    contribute Send us a timely, compelling post and we'll consider it for publishing on the site with mention of your name and social-media link.

    Click here to contact us.


Serie A Weekly recognises all copyrights contained. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If you own copyright to an image and object to its presence, contact the blog immediately using the "contact us" link at the top of this page. This blog is not responsible for the content of third party sites.