Friday September 1 2017
‘Strikers will decide Milan’s season’

Former Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini believes the club’s new strikers will decide whether they qualify for the Champions League.

Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic were brought in over the summer, while youngster Patrick Cutrone emerged as an option, and Ambrosini admitted he was unsure about whether the trio could fire Milan back among Europe’s elite.

“It’s a crucial year for Romagnoli. He arrived as a young player with promise, now he has to grow further,” he told Tuttosport.

“With Bonucci, he must be able to tie the elegance of his game with the ability to mark: if he gets better at one-on-ones, he’ll become a champion in all respects.

“Donnarumma? His renewal could’ve been handled differently, but I had no doubt that the most logical solution would be for him to stay at Milan.

“I don’t know him personally, but I know he’s a sensitive lad and, as such, may have had some hesitation.

“Still, he has technical qualities that aren’t being talked about and he won’t be brought down by what happened in June.

“Likewise, I had no doubt that the fans would treat him like an idol again.

“Bonucci? It was a transfer that certainly amazed me with its timing. Bonucci’s a professional and he won’t be fazed.

“In any case, going to Milan at his age and with his past at Juventus, it’s a great challenge for him.

“Were they right to make him captain? You should ask Montolivo. I guess they warned him and explained their decision to him well.

“I like the enthusiasm and willingness of their players. I like the options that are available to Montella.

“What worries me? Putting together all these players naturally involves unknowns. Their Europa League commitments must also be considered. Inter, one of their likely rivals for Champions League qualification, won’t have them.

“Have their choices for attack convinced me? That’s where Milan’s season will be played. It’s there that the difference in qualifying for the Champions League will be made.

“You can‘t expect Cutrone to score 20 goals, Andrè Silva will need time to adapt and Kalinic has just arrived. We’ll see…”