Monday June 5 2017
Make room for new Milan

A new ownership, vision of restoring past glories and a wad of cash, Milan are on the rise once again, writes Matthew Santangelo.

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

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Have your say...
Maldini's Heir;

Bacca isn't going to be a 20 goal scorer because he isn't good enough. The only thing he does is score and he will never score like that. Especially not alone.. Sevilla plays in La Liga and that is what it is.

His shot ratio is that because those shots are the only times he's engaged. He poses no threat except for the shots he takes. He scores a goal or he doesn't. The rest is nothing. Dzeko is not like that. And scores a lot more. Nevermind someone like Higuain.
on the 11th June, 2017 at 4:24pm
@Maldini's Heir We have the whole summer to thin the squad but we need to sign before July in order to give Montella a good pre-season and hit the ground running with a totally revamped squad. I'm sure Fassone and Mirabelli will be aware of the 3:1.
on the 10th June, 2017 at 11:53am
Our pursuit of Conti sums up the sort of dilemmas we are facing. I am not going to question signing a player who scored 8 goals and provided 4 assists last season from right back. However he again creates that 3:1 problem just like Biglia. And the similarities don't stop there: he will undermine either a potential captain (Abate) or a potential prospect (Calabria) just like Biglia will undermine Monty and Locatelli. If we do sign him then we should probably loan Calabria.
on the 10th June, 2017 at 1:43am
Paletta, Zapata, Vangioni, Gomez, Antonelli, Monty, Sosa, Kucka, Mati, Bertolacci, Bacca and Lapadula should all feel the pressure of a looming transfer during this pre-season, with Biglia, Conti, and a striker likely to join Kessie, Rodriguez and Musacchio among the arrivals in this new Milan. I honestly believe at least 7-8 them should leave in January if not before, and that's pending whatever other transfers may happen this summer after the mentioned targets.
on the 9th June, 2017 at 4:45pm
Well, luckily we are not constrained to waiting for payers to leave before we can buy, which has stunted our transfer campaigns in recent years. This time we can buy who we want to have in the squad and make current players realize that there really isn't going to be r them. Though I do expect this summer to be mostly arrivals and exits on loan, before several players should be sold in January after having warmed seats in the stands for half a season.
on the 9th June, 2017 at 4:37pm
Bacca's goal record puts him as one of the best finishers in the world. His goals to shots ratio last season was unbelievable. This season he's been poor and he's still scored 14 goals. Dzeko went from 8 goals last season to 29 this. With strikers form and confidence and of course service is everything. Having said all that we can put all this aside because I have the solution. Ibrahimovic is about to be released from Man Utd!
on the 9th June, 2017 at 1:51am
@ Me I agree about Paletta. I have absolutely no time for Zapata ever since he admitted to only performing when he's "concentrated". This sums up the problems with Milan. The players are just not concentrated against the smaller teams and Zapata epitomises that and even admitted it!
on the 9th June, 2017 at 1:47am
Maldini's Heir;

One thing -Anonymous is right- Bacca has to go. Disregard his numbers. He's a very good player and that's all. He's not a world-class player and he can't consistently get you 20 goals. Period. You play with a front 3 so only one striker. That one striker has to be world-class or have the chance to be. And that ain't happening here. I'm not huge on Morata, but he could have a chance. And he's definitely better than Bacca.

on the 8th June, 2017 at 6:52pm
I disagree about Paletta...letting him go is one thing, but not in order to keep Zapata. Zapata was once a huge talent and fell hard at Villareal, tho he did put in one great World Cup. I wouldn't keep him. I wouldn't loan Calabria. Montolivo has to go. I think Sosa should go. Locatelli needs to be in the lineup with some regularity. I'd like Lucas because I love Lucas and because I think he is a great fit alongside of Locatelli.
on the 8th June, 2017 at 2:50pm
Maldini's Heir often makes great points, and he's making one in regards to the need for leadership. Thiago Silva would have been a great move and still could be if Montella is interested in a back 3. But probably not.

Donnarumma and Romagnoli are options. De Sciglio has dropped levels the last three seasons and seems ready to go. Bonaventura (my boy) appears an option.

Biglia is not world-class but a terrific player in a double pivot. I'd rather they get Lucas Leiva, who is also a leader.
on the 8th June, 2017 at 2:45pm
Delighted to see the signings of Kessie and Musacchio(has to be the end of the line for Paletta now). Rodriguez will be a terrific signing with de sciglio turning his bakc on us. I would love to get short of Abate, Calabria is a good replacement I feel!
Striker wise, as a Celtic fan foremost if Dembele was to leave, I think it would be a brilliant piece of business for Milan to get him at £20-25million. Andre Silva has also been mentioned but I am a fan of Lapadula too!get rid of monty and kucka
on the 7th June, 2017 at 1:11pm
De Sciglio, Honda, Gomez, Poli, Mortolivo, Sosa, Paletta, Antonelli, Kuco all need to go. I would definitely keep Calabria without a shadow of a doubt. Bacca is still the club's top scorer, so I wouldn't have him sold unless the club sign 1-2 new strikers. Lapadula will improve, but I don't think he has the qualities to ever be first choice at Milan. Bertolacci needs to have an injury free season, before a real assessment on his qualities can be made. He cost too much to just be allowed to go.
on the 7th June, 2017 at 9:16am
PS The one good thing about Biglia is that maybe he'll bring leadership. We should sell Monty.
on the 7th June, 2017 at 2:58am
Until we find a captain no amount of money or signings will address the fundamental lack of leadership which sees us beat Juve and lose to Genoa within 3 days of each other.
on the 7th June, 2017 at 1:28am
The biggest problem with Milan is a lack of leadership and that’s not something you can just go out and buy unless of course we re-signed Thiago Silva. That’s why he would’ve been my first signing. None of the players we’ve signed can lead the side so it will fall to one of the existing players with the existing problems. Monty is just not a winner. Neither is Abate. Nor is De Sciglio. So who is there? Who is our captain? The only realistic option is Jack.
on the 7th June, 2017 at 1:26am
@dami Agreed on Jack. However the term “mediocre” is abused even more than “worldclass”. There’s not these big gulfs between the top players. Any player that plays in a top 6 side in Serie A is a top player. Small details make a big difference. Juve jumped from 7th to an unbeaten 1st in 11/12; Roma jumped from 6th to 2nd in 13/14 and Lazio jumped 9th to 3rd in 13/14. The squads did not drastically change but they just got things right including a bit of luck with injuries.
on the 7th June, 2017 at 1:25am
@ Anonymous11 Bacca's stats speak for themselves. As did Balotelli's once. People seem to think strikers with a 1:2 goal record are ten a penny. If Milan sign a 1:2 striker I'll be happy. Neither Morata or Belotti are 1:2 strikers.

@ Dami. Agreed on Jack. However the term "mediocrity" is more overused than "worldclass". There's not this enormous gulf between top players and all players in Serie A especially the top 6 are top players. Small details make a huge difference. Juve jumped from 7th
on the 7th June, 2017 at 1:00am
@Maldini's Heir,
Are you kidding me? Bacca is not quick enough nor strong enough to ever be considered a top striker. He has no extraordinary qualities about him to make up for his deficiencies but if you like 6th place finishes after Milan's new rich owners than by all means, enjoy!. As I recall you were also fanatical about Balo after everyone in their right mind could see it was a mistake.
on the 6th June, 2017 at 10:59pm
@Maldini's Heir You have to remember that Jack's injury killed us last year as we had no replacement. Montella was initially overachieving with a mediocre bunch.
on the 6th June, 2017 at 12:02pm
@ Anonymous True. Like I said at the very outset, so far so good. We're definitely moving in the right direction but I'm just nervous. After years of Galliani I guess I've developed a fear of the transfer market!
on the 6th June, 2017 at 10:33am
after going so many years without seeing money put into the mercato i would think most fans would be happy with the club signing decent players. I am not saying that milan isn't going to make mistakes in their choices for me biglia is a mistake but it is a positive move in the right direction. it is also worth remembering milan are limited to players that they are able to attract to the club going for squad players or domestic players could be the only feasible option.
on the 6th June, 2017 at 7:17am
I do like Montella and I'm glad we will have the same manager two years in a row for the first time in a long time but Milan really need to step up next season. We need to finish in the top 3 if we're going to keep the likes of Donna and Romagnoli. And that means he needs to get more out of these players. He through it away in the second half of last season by constantly changing our starting 11. He needs to find a team a stick with it.
on the 6th June, 2017 at 3:49am
And this is key since if we're going to go off and spend a load more money we need to be getting the best out of these players. Montella keeps talking about what a success last season was but in my view he did just enough to keep his job. In a league of Lazio, ATALANTA, Milan and Inter he finished second from bottom. He failed to finish above Atalanta. How is he going to finish above Juve with a better team?
on the 6th June, 2017 at 3:47am
@ Anonymous And Dzeko is slow and Higuain is fat and Messi is short and Ronaldo is selfish. Every player in the world has weaknesses. A good manager needs to play to their strengths. And Bacca's previous managers obviously were able to play to his strengths: 20 goals in 43 games under Miha, 49 goals in 108 games under Emery, 31 goals in 54 games in Belgium....
on the 6th June, 2017 at 3:44am
If Donna is not signing, Milan should sell him with Bacca and buy Perin and Belotti.
on the 6th June, 2017 at 12:06am
@Maldini's Heir.

Sorry, but Bacca has not convinced. I've seen him get muscled off balls way too many times and he has been nothing special for Columbia either. Morrata would be quicker and more physical, granted only at the right price, not a stupid one.
on the 5th June, 2017 at 10:27pm
Well I think these moves would be profitable if the player used in their respective position and not experimenting with unfamiliar roles. This is the problem with football these days.
on the 5th June, 2017 at 9:56pm
I have a lot of respect for A.C. Milan, but their squad is still miles from being quality to compete in the Champions League. The inclusion of these young Italian players is a positive, but they still have big holes in every aspect of their starting 11.
on the 5th June, 2017 at 7:23pm
i would like to see the back of des, zapata, vangioni, sousa, montolivo, poli,niang and bacca.

paletta is a liability but he can actually be a half decent cb not a bad option as a sub. zapata really should have left milan a couple of seasons ago he only features when there is a injury
on the 5th June, 2017 at 2:18pm
players. And for god sake can we sort out the numbers (seriously). We need to know who are starting 11 is. Sure 3 and 6 are retired but our stars need to be between 1-11. I honestly think it would bring a bit normality squad. There's nothing wrong with players knowing whose going to start. It's worked for all of the main teams in Europe from Barca to Real to Chelsea to Bayern to Juve. I fear we're going to keep going and next season will be disappointing. I hope I'm wrong.
on the 5th June, 2017 at 1:25pm

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