FAN ARTICLE by Igor Felicioni.
Disclaimer: I would never claim to know more about the transfer market than Galliani, he has probably forgotten more about that topic than what I will ever learn. That being said, I present to you my reasons for believing that Milan was completely winging it during this summer’s transfer market (hereinafter STM).
Here’s the squad, the order based upon my belief on who will get the most playing time this first 4 months of the season, I also highlighted the acquisitions and wrote in parenthesis what I believe is each player’s most natural position.
Goalkeepers: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Coppola;
Defenders: Mexes (CB), Zapata (CB), Abate (RB), De Sciglio (LB-RB-CB), Emanuelson (LB-LW), Constant (Winner of Alf look-alike contest), Bonera (CB-RB), Silvestre (???), Zaccardo (Own Goal Specialist), Vergara Amu (CB);
Midfielders: Montolivo (CM-RM-AM), De Jong (DM), Muntari (DM-LM), Kaka (AM-CF), Poli (CM-RM), Nocerino (LM-RM), Saponara (AM), Cristante (CM), Birsa (he says he’s an AM);
Forwards: Forwards: Balotelli (ST-CF), El Shaarawy (LW), Pazzini (ST), Matri (ST), Robinho (getting fat), Niang (RW).
Once these four months are over I will check back and see how I did.
For now, go ahead and take a look at that chart and tell me how many actual starters Milan acquired? The answer is 1 maybe 2, Kaka and Poli. Saponara and Vergara are long term ventures, Birsa is probably the result of a drunken bet accepted by Galliani. Matri was signed because Allegri felt homesick and wanted to rekindle that 7th place Cagliari magic.
But let’s look at the players that will actually see the field more closely. I really like Poli, he’s a box to box physical midfielder with very soft feet, he and Balotelli seem to be on the same page early on, and he’s started to become that midfielder that attacks the space created by Balotelli (much like Nocerino and Boateng with Ibra), he “should” have a good year and probably will stay, but then again the season just started, a lot can happen. The main concern with him is that he tends to disappear for long stretches of time, I am honestly rooting hard for this guy.
Ok let’s talk Kaka, the main reason he was brought in was because he could be had for free (sort of) and his return would boost ticket sales, because everybody is a sucker for Nostalgia, how else can you explain FOUR Transformers movies? But I digress, in reality Kaka in his current condition is an improvement for our squad, he can also be a leader inside the locker room, which honestly we need (The Mohawks make me sick). But we can’t ignore his age, his injuries or the fact that he’s here mainly to boost his own chances to making the Brazilian squad for the World Cup. Therefore I ask what will happen in 2015? Is he leaving, are we selling him? Do we want to establish a leader in the locker room, just so he can leave next year? Another question I have, Kaka’s best year (2007) was when he played in the 4-3-2-1 Xmas tree formation, he basically played almost as a second striker, so is Allegri willing to slot him there? Because I don’t think he has the speed for that position anymore and also we currently have 6 strikers, which brings us to…
Awesome goal celebration notwithstanding, I think we need to understand why Matri was brought in. I’ve voiced my opinion on Allegri before, so we don’t have to go over that again, but this was obviously a player Galliani brought to make Allegri happy. Here’s the problem, if you talk to anyone in the know, they will tell you Allegri is 99,99% gone after this year, unless by some miracle he pulls off a second place in Serie A, and quarterfinals or better in the Champions League, and if he does pull that off, he’ll probably reject Milan for greener pastures. So then how do you explain giving €11 million to JUVENTUS of all teams, for an average striker, when you have that many strikers already? Bear in mind Balotelli is the immovable object, so now you have 5 player fighting for 1 spot, maybe El Shaarawy and Niang are not ready to play in the 4-3-1-2 Berlusconi wants, but a team with some sort of plan would rather save that money and give two promising youngsters a chance, or in the worst case scenario neither of them work you still have Robinho and Pazzini. But no, overpaying for a 29 year old mediocre player that belongs to your biggest rival makes a lot more sense. Lastly, for those of you thinking that maybe Pazzini’s injury is worse than advertised, riddle me this: if it is that bad, why was he included in The UCL list?
Speaking of the UCL list, why was Niang excluded? The official reason is downright laughable, “Umberto Gandini forgot to include him.” Unless Umberto Gandini had to write down the list during one of Berlusconi’s parties and under the influences of controlled substances, there is absolutely no way this was unintentional. The unofficial word is Niang refused to go to Genoa in exchange for Juraj Kucka, and thus is being “punished”. I honestly hope this is isn’t true, this reminds me of the Perugia owner who fired Ahn Jung Hwan for scoring against Italy, I want to believe Milan is better than this. I leave it up to you, let me know in the comments below which of these stories do you believe?
There’s something we need to discuss before I leave you, barring any opinion you may have on Mexes and Zapata, I personally think they are an “adequate” duo, if anyone of them goes down or is suspended our options are Bonera, Silvestre, Vergara and Zaccardo. Are we sure that €11 million spent on Matri could not have been spent on a good center back? One that could actually challenge for a starting position, I won’t give names, but I’m sure at least someone equal to Mexes and Zapata could be had for €6-8 million, after that you give Sassuolo a call and put Zaccardo on the Frecciarossa train with a giant green and black bow on his head.
The saddest part about this transfer market is that we could have had 3-4 young players that would have actually added depth and quality to the team, and two went to Roma (Strootman €17m and Ljajic €11m) these are not insane prices, I would much rather have Ljajic or Strootman than Matri. I have nothing against the guy, I just don’t think we need him.
When you look at guys like Ogbonna at €13m and Sakho at €15m, and how the teams that bought them overpaid, you understand the importance of the position within this market window. I would have liked to see Milan tackling the actual problems of the team, rather than wasting time bringing a 31 year old figurine to try to sell some tickets, or blowing the Boateng money trying to please a “Coach” that has one foot out the door.
In Conclusion, the team is slightly better than last year, but by a very slim margin, that margin is provided by the quality Poli and Kaka will add to the midfield, the defense and attack were not improved at all. When you look at what Juventus, Fiorentina, Roma, Napoli and even Inter did to improve their teams, the overall impression is the Milan will struggle to arrive in third place. This all can change during the January transfer window, however when you all read and hear is that we already have a contract with Honda (A very special player who I think is amazing) The feeling I get is fear, fear that we won’t make the Champions League next year, and as a result we wouldn’t get that vital Champion’s League money, the same money we did get this year and was instrumental during the free acquisition of Kaka…
Thanks for reading,