New sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli has been globetrotting to bolster a fallen giant. As the most active club on the transfer front, the Rossoneri already officially announced the arrivals of Mateo Musacchio and Franck Kessié – with several others in line to commit to the project as well.
But, with manager Vincenzo Montella rearing up to compete on three fronts, with Europa League fixtures now on the menu next season, which players on the current roster should be sold to make room for the impact signings capable of a top four finish?
From goalkeeper all the way down to the attack, let’s assess who stays and who goes.
Alessandro Plizzari, 17: Once named ‘the other Donnarumma’ by Silvio Berlusconi, Plizzari boasts plenty of talent and potential. At the club since aged five, the baby-faced ‘portiere’ spent the 2016-17 backing up Gianluigi Donnarumma, but did not make a single Serie A appearance. There is still optimism Gigio’s contract situation will sort itself out, but it would be smart for Plizzari to remain and continue learning from Storari – who is likely to extend for another year as a father figure. Stay
Luca Antonelli, 30: Plagued with injuries last year, Antonelli was limited to just 309 minutes over seven Serie A appearances. Entering the previous campaign as one of five full-backs on the roster, the ex-Genoa defender became a forgotten man. With De Sciglio likely to leave and Davide Calabria in need of further seasoning – either at Milan or on loan – keeping a veteran like Antonelli makes sense. When healthy, he can hold it down. Stay
Davide Calabria, 20: The Milan academy product got his feet wet a good amount last year, appearing in 12 matches. Despite his struggles, Calabria showed glimpses of what made him one of the system’s most promising prospects, swinging in strong, accurate crosses regularly and trailblazing up and down the pitch. Although talented, another year of being a squad rotation player would hinder his growth. A season-long loan to a Serie A club for starting minutes would work wonders for his development. Go
Gabriel Paletta, 31: For most of the season, Paletta was the easy choice for Montella to play alongside Alessio Romagnoli. Strong in defence and stable, the 31-year old held it down defensively, allowing Romagnoli to contribute much more in the attacking build-ups of Montella’s possession-based system. However, Paletta was far too reckless, accumulating five red cards over 30 appearances. Musacchio will be the vice-Romagnoli, Gustavo Gomez is waiting for his chance to prove he belongs, and Cristian Zapata still contributes the occasional steady showing, so moving Paletta for a small profit before a walk year seems logical. Go
Andrea Bertolacci, 26: It’s been two full seasons since Bertolacci arrived from Roma on a €20m move, but has yet to prove he’s worth even half of it. The successful stay in Genoa prior to joining the Rossoneri saw the Italian marvel in an advanced attacking midfield role. However, he’s been unable to replicate that form and show us anything under Sinisa Mihajlovic or Vincenzo Montella. Bologna are reportedly keen to take a loan flyer on him – and there wouldn’t be many Milanisti begging him to stay. Go
Juraj Kucka, 30: The Slovakian was a mainstay in the line-up under Mihajlovic during 2014-15, earning the nickname ‘The Tank’ for his gritty, fierce play. Kucka can get forward and also execute the breaking tackle, but aside from that, he offers little creativity. Franck Kessie will undertake some of the physical responsibilities in Montella’s midfield leaving Kucka somewhat surplus to requirements. Mihajlovic could look to rekindle their relationship, as the Slovak is a wanted man in Turin. Turn a decent profit and let him walk. Go
Mati Fernandez, 31: On loan from Fiorentina, Mati was in and out of the mix for Milan last year, tallying only 652 minutes. The Chile international did not hammer down any midfield role, and played mostly due to injuries and the inconsistency of others, but still pitched in down the stretch with a key goal to sink Genoa in March and two assists in the sixth-place clincher versus Bologna. Milan will need squad depth over a full schedule, so retaining Mati for cheap could prove to be decent business. Stay
Andrea Poli, 27: Once a highly-rated prospect at Sampdoria, Andrea Poli’s football journey has been anything but roses. Energy and ‘grinta’ off the bench are the extent of his abilities, yet many seem to appreciate that to the point where they wouldn’t mind him surviving the summer exodus. Bologna and Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact are said to be interested in the ex-Inter man. Joey Saputo owns both clubs and could organise a move similar to the one with Blerim Dzemaili, so expect this to be the end of the road in red and black for Poli. Go
Gianluca Lapadula, 27: The journeyman hitman won over the hearts of Milan supporters with his tenacity, work rate and unwavering spirit. Fresh off a 30-goal season with Pescara, Lapadula’s minutes came mostly from the bench under Montella as Carlos Bacca’s back-up, yet became a fan favorite even without the gaudy offensive output – eight goals and four assists in 27 league appearances. The Colombian is all but certain to depart and the club is eyeing a big name to spearhead the attack. Lapadula will garner some interest this summer and could start elsewhere if he desires, but based off what we’ve heard from the well-traveled attacker, Milan is where he’d like to be. And my guess is, ‘Sir William’ shall remain. Stay