The recently concluded season greatly exposed AC Milanai??i??s inadequate bench, proving that if it were not due to the individual brilliance of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Kevin-Prince Boateng, Milan would probably have been fighting for a place in the Champions League rather than for the title. With transfer activities now in full swing, their worries have only worsened. Milan has sold their two most influential players in Ibrahimovic and Silva, leaving Max Allegri with innumerable worries.

Milan

Milan

Can an Ibra-less Milan be successful this season?

Milan

Milanai??i??s main reason behind the sale of these two players was their need to cut down on their wage budget and earn as much money from this sale in order to sort out their precarious financial situation. In order to help in their bid to reduce their wage budget, the club also released a host of senior players. This means that the club is most surely not going to chase the biggest names from across the world and will have to make do with some wheeler dealer signings, something which Adriano Galliani is proficient at.

Milan – The New Signings

Milanai??i??s signings so far have been nothing more than satisfactory. Other than Riccardo Montolivo and Francesco Acerbi, Milanai??i??s two other signings have left fans puzzled. Both Bakaye TraorAi?? and KAi??vin Constant, are far from the quality that is normally associated with Milan and the idea of them filling in for the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Mark Van Bommel and Gennaro Gattuso seems blasphemous. And this is just talking about replacing all the players other than Silva and Ibrahimovic.

Then the question of whether Ibrahimovic and Silva can be replaced at all rises. Well, can they? If you look at the top defenders across the world, the only names that could possibly be uttered in the same breath as Thiago Silva are Mats Hummels, Gerard PiquAi??, Vincent Kompany and Pepe. Even amongst this list, only Hummels can match Silva in terms of his ball playing ability and versatility. So replacing Silva seems an almost impossible task, with the best that Milan can do being the arrival of someone of a similar mould and a lot younger, in other words, build for the future.

Unlike Silvaai??i??s departure, Ibrahimovicai??i??s move to PSG was not surrounded by as much resentment amongst the Milan faithful. There is no doubt that he was most instrumental in the clubai??i??s last two campaigns, but his move out of Milan was surely coming. The fact that Ibrahimovic was a traveler was no secret and was crucial in cushioning the angst among Milan fans. Also, Ibrahimovicai??i??s presence could have been a hindrance to the growth of younger attackers like Pato and Stephan El Shaarawy.

With Ibraai??i??s departure and Milanai??i??s current group of strikers, the question of whether he needs to be replaced at all comes to the fore. Antonio Cassano and Pato have shown their brilliance on a number of occasions, but their affinity to injury is a worry. If the two of them can remain fit for most of the season, the Rossoneri should manage just fine. Allegriai??i??s other attacking options, El Shaarawy and Robinho, are not the most reliable and lethal option in attack, but can be used as backup. At best, Milan would require a young striker who will be expected to blossom along with El Shaarawy and Pato. Ibra will not be missed.

Defensive and Midfield woes at Milan

Some problems from last season will continue to hurt Milan, unless newer faces are brought in. The post-Maldini struggle at left back is Milanai??i??s biggest worry and the names on their roster surely wonai??i??t help. With no talk of any player being brought in, it seems that Milan will continue to be haunted down their left flank for another season. Allegriai??i??s next headache will be his embarrassingly poor backup options in defense. Right now, his options to fill in for Nesta and Silva are themselves very poor and Milanai??i??s defensive future looks very bleak. Rebuilding for the future and patiently fighting through the unsuccessful years is the only realistic option.

Milan

Milan

Milan's defense needs to step up a notch if they are to hope for success

Milan

Milanai??i??s current midfield is the epitome of mediocrity. From a team boasting of players like Seedorf, KakA? and Andrea Pirlo, to one that uses a make-shift trequartista in Kevin-Prince Boateng and the likes of Sulley Muntari and Mathieu Flamini behind him, the pain felt by Milan fans seems unfathomable. The clubai??i??s latest signings have by no means changed things. Mediocrity continues to be the middle name of Milanai??i??s midfield.

So, can a club that is desperately in need of new faces and a huge makeover, really prove a force in the race to win the Serie A? Clearly the answer is no, but a fairly average Milan squad did manage to win the Serie A in 2011. So why canai??i??t they now? Well, that would depend heavily on the state that the other teams are in.

A look at the competitors of Milan

Defending champions Juventus were clearly a step ahead of Milan prior to the transfer window and the past month has only seen Juventus move ahead by leaps and bounds. Catching the Bianconeri is undoubtedly an impossible task for Max Allegriai??i??s side. Milanai??i??s best hope is that they can catch up with Antonio Conteai??i??s side in the next few years.

Closest rivals Inter are in a similar state, but have gone a lot further with the rebuilding process. Also, under the relatively new Andrea Stramaccioni, Inter seem to have a new-found belief and are also a step ahead of Milan at the moment.

Napoli and Udinese have lost players over the summer, making themselves less likely threats to Juventusai??i?? crown. Lazio are also in the same league as Napoli and Udinese, having failed to make any drastic improvements to their squad. Under Zdenek Zeman, Roma will surely have new-found faith and strength, surely making them the dark-horses for the coming season.

To say that Milan are on par with Napoli, Roma, Udinese and Lazio would be a little too harsh, while considering them as a threat for the Serie A title along with Juventus and Inter seems an overestimation of their capability. Given their current situation, Milanai??i??s most realistic goal would be to ensure that they qualify for the Champions League by finishing in third spot in the coming season.

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One Response to “AC Milan – Is European Qualification The Most Realistic Goal?”

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  1. nick says:

    It’s too early to predict Milan’s faith. Knowing Berlusconi and Galliani, they may just have a few aces up their selves to propell Milan above their adversaries in the blink of an eye. I regret Thiago Silva’s sale and had hope the club would have kept their promise to the fans to keep him. However, with the UEFA financial fair play rule on the horizon many teams will suffer in the long run when Milan are progressing.

    With that said there are suitable replacements at a relatively good price and younger. Dede is a young Brazilian who won best defender of the year consecutively in the Brazilian League. Anyone who watches the Brazilian league will appreciate Dede’s talent on and off the ball as he is very good at reading the game and closing down attackers like Neymar who was pretty much man handled by Dede, so much so that it was like taking candy from a baby. Not many defenders can do that to such a talented and brazen player like Neymar.

    Medhi Benatia is an excellent player to replace Silva. If anyone has doubts about this guy’s talent, then I can only assume that they must be watching a different league other than Serie A. Benatia and Danilo were the reason Udinese had the best defence last season. Benatia, just like Dede, kept Ibra and Pato in his pocket for the entire game at the San Siro. Very good tackler and reader of the game. Benatia is a talented rising star so much so that Milan should consider buying both Dede and Benatia to sure up their defence. If they do Thiago Silva’s sale will be well forgotten.

    Ibra’s sale was the best solution for Milan and I say this as a die hard Milan fan since 1986. Ibra was hindering the progress of players like Pato and El Sharaawy and his style of play caused Milan to be too predictable and static at times as the team game play always went through Ibra.

    A suitable replacement in my opinion, is none other than Robert Lewandowski. Why? Just watch Borussia Dortmund double win title season. I need not explain further. Van Persie’s age and price tag would not make sense if Milan should acquire his service albeit he would be an instant almost guaranteed success. But that would be a short term fix and not a fix for the future.

    Other honorable mentioned are Tevez, who I believe would be great as he would play a more supporting role to Pato or El Sharaawy which can only help their development but again this is a short term solution. Edin Dzeko is another player that can grow into a big success at Milan and would fit the team well, but I have my doubts about his mental strength as he is too similar to Hunterlaar. Very good when playing in traditionally smaller teams but a shadow of themselves when playing at big teams. Therefore, Edin Dzeko is a hit or miss. I would rather take Tevez for now and develop youth talents like Ganz or Paloschi.

    Alberto Paloschi is so similar to Pippo Inzaghi that Milan should not over look him. If Tevez arrive instead of Lewandoski, Milan should focus on Paloschi and Ganz for the future. Leandro Damiao, talented striker and very young. But, unlike most Brazilian strikers he is not what we would call gifted with talent such as Neymar or Pato. My doubts about Damiao is that he is a major risk and he lacks european experience. Of late, Damiao looks horrible to say the least and Milan would be taken a big risk with this player.

    The only other option that I believe would be great other than Lewandowski is Real Madrid is Higuain. Young and what an underrated talented striker. Does anyone pay any attention to this guys goal ratio. He played 1601 minutes in La Liga and scored 22 goals, means he needs 72.8 minutes per goal. This is a better goal ratio than Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gomez, and Van Persie. Very clinical striker who in my opinion can emerge as the new Inzaghi of Milan.