Italian giants, AC Milan, have only four more days to potentially save their season. This is no premature cry for change after their not-so surprising loss, in my opinion, against newly promoted Sampdoria on Sunday but more of a long standing problem which has been apparent all summer. After releasing an entire teams worth of players and bringing in very little in terms of bodies and quality AC Milan entered their first league fixture in a terrible state. Their starting XI resembled a side that would have been fielded in an early cup-tie fixture, they started two teenagers and a handful of players who spent most of their time last season on the bench. Despite having come close to scoring a few times in the match it was a performance which was sub-par to what a club like AC Milan should be expecting. The home fans booed their team off the field following their loss. Milan had their lowest ever level of season ticket sales this year in their “Berlusconi-era” and after having sold Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva they offered refunds to those who had already signed up and paid. I felt it showed a real lack of ambition from the club – selling your best players and bringing in no replacements is not a traditional move from AC Milan.
AC Milan are one of the most successful clubs in the world and have always been a team which, especially in the past 25 years, have dominated both domestically and in Europe. Although the club should be in crisis mode they seem to be more focused on making sure their books balance rather than competing with rivals. Both Juventus and Inter look to be the sides which will be battling for the Scudetto this season while AC Milan, in their current state, will be lucky to finish in a Europa League qualifying position.After the past few seasons of heavily relying on Zlatan Ibramhimovic in attacking areas AC Milan found themselves lacking any zest in the final third. They often counted on Zlatan’s individual brilliance and Silva’s solidness at back but they are now without those two as they both were poached by PSG. The club had an idea of selling Ibrahimovic and using [the still young] Pato but he has been sidelined again with his 16th separate injury since arriving at the club in 2008. The Brazilian has proved to be a good player with a great goals to game ratio but seemingly very very delicate and susceptible to injury. Pazzini‘s arrival will be a boost up front for Milan as he looks to re-find his goalscoring form with the rossoneri.
If Milan do not dig deep into their pockets in the coming days they will be in for a very tough season ahead. Although signings are important they must not move blindly. The coaches and managers have had a very long time to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the squad, now they must buy the right players for the right roles. What is apparent is that Milan need a handful of players, some to start and some to be squad members. The defence should be the main priority as filling the holes where Nesta and Silva were last season will be key. Faith has been placed in the young De Sciglio at full-back, he is able to play at both left and right back which will help cover over the cracks at the back but it may come undone over the course of the season. Zapata’s return to Serie A [albeit on loan] will hopefully be successful for him and Milan as a strong central defender will be needed to partner either Bonera or Mexes, ideally. Despite having lost influential members in midfield such as Gattuso, Van Bommel and Seedorf, Milan look strong and very mobile in the centre of the park. New signing Montolivo along with Boateng and Nocerino are a great combined work engine and will take a little bit of time to settle and gel with each other.Allegri will be hoping that Galliani can strike some key deals to help him continue with his pursuit to regain the Serie A title. If signings do not arrive I fear that the club will not have enough in the tank to compete on all fronts this season. Next week Milan face Bologna and have been best priced at 23/20 by BetVictor for the victory. Although any new signings will find it tough to be on the pitch by then their announcements alone will be a big boost in morale to both recently disappointed fans and players alike. The next few days are very important for AC Milan’s season. Will they sign any effective players or will they keep their purse strings tight and hope for the best?