How not to prepare for a Serie A campaign: Sell your two best players, fail to sell any season tickets, anger your own dressing room with the transfer policy and lose to both your rivals in the Trofeo Tim Cup.
The Milanisti have been on a roller-coaster ride this summer with the transfer sagas of both Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The sales of both players led many Milan fans that this was the beginning of the end for A.C Milan as a competitive force in Europe; but there was method to Galliani’s madness. With FFP soon to be introduced, the Rossoneri would have been financially staring down the barrel a gun, had they not balanced the books this summer. The 2012/13 season will be without Nesta, Inzaghi, Gatttuso etc. but it will also herald the arrival of a new generation of Milan players. The Milanisti hope that the next generation are as successful as the last.
Manager: Massimiliano Allegri
Since Allegri’s tenure as Milan coach began two years ago, he has had a team capable of picking and managing itself; this year however, Allegri may have his work cut out.
The former Calgari failed to make it two Sudetti in a row for the Rossoneri last season as Conte’s Juventus surprised the Peninsula with an unbeaten season. For the past two seasons he had go-to players like Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, these players could save or win a game with one deft touch; without these players next season however, Allegri can show his true worth as a manager. Ibrahimovic was A.C Milan’s star, the team was moulded to accommodate his ego so Massimiliano could not instill any philosophy other than “passare a Ibra”. Now that the big Swede has filled his pockets with Parisian Euros, Allegri has a chance to make A.C Milan a pass and move team. The acquisition of Montolivo and the possible return of Kaka, Milan could have a midfield as comfortable in possession as Pete Doherty; albeit a different sort of possession. 2012/13 will be a sink or swim season for Massimiliano Allegri.
Key Player: Alexandre Pato
Mystery injuries, Berlusconi’s daughter and transfer rumours have shaken his Rossoneri career to it’s foundations over the past year, but he can still the pride of the San Siro next season.
The youngest player to score at a FIFA event, the duck’s potential has been evident since his time in Brazil with Internacional. Signed by A.C Milan in the summer mercato of 2007 for €24 million, many felt that the Rossoneri had bagged themselves the future of the Brazilian national team. He started his San Siro career very positively; he was the top scorer for his club in his second season and won the Serie A Young Player of the Year award in 2009. Since then however, injuries have stunted his growth, throughout the past two seasons he has rarely shown the quality calcio fans know he possesses. A.C Milan refused the advances of Parisian billionaires in January and now, the 22 year old has to prove that their faith was not blind. Pato needs to stay fit next season for Milan’s sake, with Ibrahimovic gone and not much cash in hand, it is necessary that the youngster finally realises his potential. The stage is set for Pato to become Serie A’s best…
Best Signing: Francesco Acerbi
The two best centre backs of their respective generations have left A.C Milan during this mercato. They are seemingly irreplaceable figures but one man is attempting to replace them both; step forward, Francesco Acerbi.
“I’ve wanted to wear the Milan shirt ever since I was a kid”, Acerbi completed his dream move this summer from Chievo after a fantastic campaign in Verona. As comfortable on the ball as he is in the tackle, the 23 year old is one of the most talented young Italian defenders currently plying their trade at the moment. He is certainly the outstanding transfer of the Rossoneri’s mercato, but his new club needs to make one more defensive signing in my opinion, to allow the youngster to integrate into the squad more fluently. Mexes will probably be a liability next season, like he always is so the signing of a defender in the mould of Mbwia could complete Milan’s new defence. “If I’m ready to become Nesta’s heir? Yes, certainly.”
Football Matters’ Season Prediction: 2nd
With Juventus strengthening during this mercato, a second place finish is the best the Milanisti can hope for.
This prediction is based on the fact that I believe Milan’s mercato is not yet closed. If Galliani signs a centre back, Kaka, a striker and keep Alexandre Pato fit; the season will be a positive experience for the San Siro faithful. A season of rebuilding was a necessity for A.C Milan, it was long overdue for a club living beyond their means for quite a while. I urge the Milanisti to not lose faith just yet, there are still a number of stars at the club with a few more to be signed this mercato.
Glory will come to those reduced to ashes…