Sunday February 3 2013
Milan transfer review

Mario Balotelli lit up the Rossoneri’s January transfer window, but Alex Mott notes not all of their moves were positive ones.

Best signing

It was probably the headline move in Europe over January, and at €20m certainly one of the most expensive. But Mario Balotelli’s arrival at Milan is one that fans of the Rossoneri have been clamouring for since the summer. President Silvio Berlusconi may have called the 22-year-old ‘a bad apple’ earlier in the month, however come the 31st supporters at San Siro were hailing the controversial striker as a Milan Messiah. The only question now is have the trouble and provocation stayed in Manchester?

Why did they sign him?

In a relatively quiet window for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, one signing stood out as a genuinely left-field purchase. Cristian Zaccardo’s arrival from Parma was greeted with bafflement in Lombardy, and goes completely against the club’s initial strategy of bringing in young players they can mould the Milan Way. Admittedly, the 31-year-old is a versatile defender, but with the likes of Mattia De Sciglio and Bartosz Salamon vying for a first-team spot, the move really makes no sense.

Why did they sell him?

Injuries blighted Alexandre Pato’s time at Milan, and when he was sold to Corinthians at the start of the window it was with a real sense of ‘what if?’ The Brazilian striker was touted as a world-beater when he joined back in 2007, but a whole raft of hamstring strains and muscle pulls curtailed his career in Serie A - as Seleçao medic Jose Luis Runco said though, “Milan got his treatment wrong.” Perhaps with a less stubborn approach from the Milan Lab and with a tad more patience, Pato could have been firing the club to European glory?

Craziest rumour

There have been a few nonsensical rumours this month swirling around Milanello, but perhaps none more so than those linking David Beckham with a move to the Rossoneri. The former England international was the subject of constant speculation in the Italian media, but thankfully those reports were nothing more than hearsay. The 37-year-old would have given Serie A extra gravitas around the world, but in footballing terms, it would have been an absurd move.

Thank God he’s gone

Urby Emanuelson couldn’t cut it at the highest level - that much was clear when he signed at the start of the last season from Ajax. So 18 months later, and a half century of appearances down the line, the 26-year-old still isn’t anywhere near good enough. His lack of assurance on the ball, poor delivery and non-existent decision-making made him an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, Allegri has finally seen the light and shipped him off on loan to Fulham.

Pack your bags

The arrival of Balotelli, the emergence of M’Baye Niang and the goalscoring capabilities of Stephan El Shaarawy seem to have pushed Giampaolo Pazzini out of the starting XI at San Siro. The 28-year-old’s move from Inter to Milan last season was never popular with supporters – especially as Antonio Cassano went the other way. And from the off, it just hasn’t worked out for the former Fiorentina man. His record this season of 10 goals in 20 games does look respectable, but scratch at the surface and you’ll see that half of them have come against Bologna alone. It’s time for the club to cut their losses, move Pazzini on and take a punt on the young triumvirate.


It’s been a real mixed bag for Milan over January. Every move they’ve made has the potential to be either superb or absolutely shocking. Everyone knows how good, and how bad, Balotelli can be. Salamon and Riccardo Saponara are clearly ones for the future, and Zaccardo just adds not necessarily needed depth at the back. Seeing Emanuelson leave can only be a good thing – and the same has to be said for Djamel Mesbah. But Pato’s departure at the start of the window leaves a bitter taste. It’s been a big month for the club and only the League table in May will tell us if it’s been a successful one.

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Have your say...
Transfer Window was pretty good for Milan in my opinion. Those who say Balotelli is a bad signing because he couldn't play well in Man City please remember that AC Milan is a completely different club. He supported it as a kid and will perform better because theres a better atmosphere there for him.
on the 6th February, 2013 at 1:16pm
Clear to me Alex Mott hasn't watched Milan a lot , or if he has his knowledge of football in general is poor!
on the 5th February, 2013 at 11:38pm
I agree 100% Bonera was an abject disaster against Udinese and nearly cost us the game but for a lucky penalty. I have never seen a defender with a worse sense of positioning. How we held onto Bonera but let Acerbi and Mesbah go. Surely Bonera and Yepes should have been the first defenders sold. It would have been better to have given Zaccardo an opportunity if Mexes was not available. I can't help but think that Milan started improving when Bonera got injured. Let's pray for another injury.
on the 4th February, 2013 at 9:36am
Milan will finish 3rd, We have a very exciting strike force and have signed some young promising players in Saponara and Salamon....unfortunetly no chance in UCL but if we finished 3rd thats a big success from where we were....hopefully in the off-season we can get rid of some of these bad defenders and maybe sign ogbonna and another, and we need someone else to play alongside montolivo....From there u will see Milan challenge for scudetto and europe honours every year
on the 4th February, 2013 at 1:51am
I agree with you anonymous, Bonera is a liability. It makes me cringe every time he is in the starting line up.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 11:32pm
a world cup winning defender like zaccardo is definitely better than bonera. just look at how bonera played against udinese - disastrous. i'm not sure about your assessment on emanuelson as well. he's a decent left-footed winger that was played out of position on the right,and surely a good back-up for el shaarawy next season considering that it is likely robinho will be leaving and krkic will not be signed
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:50pm
why on earth is bonera still at milan. he was the one responsible for udinese's goal. he is such a sloppy player with no technique or quality. zaccardo a much better replacement for bonera. who agrees with me guys
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:39pm
Also when fit id have destro, and rossi and di natale all instead of giovinco. De sciglio, immobile and insigne all knocking at the door but important to gain more experience and play at euro under 21 in the summer. Shame gabbiadini injured he for me deserves a call up.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 7:28pm
I doubt any serious Milan fan was excited over the capture of Pazzini in the summer, but credit has to be given where credit is due. Ok Pazzo is never going to be the long term leader of the line for Milan, but in the short term he has contributed 10 goals. 10 goals is no mean feat in Serie A. Just ask the Juve strikers. whilst he might have to ultimately move aside for Super Mario, but his contribution in the short term can only be commended.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 7:11pm
Again not impressed cesare. Fair enough chiellini, ogbonna and marchisio injured and bonucci broke the rules so not included. Why gasteldello? Why 4 keepers again? And if so why no consigli, de sanctis is crap. Was hoping to see roncaglia, anyone know if he will called for next games. Want to see icardi to, and why gilardino, my god. Why no cassano.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 7:05pm
Mesbah wasn't that terrible he wasn't given a chance for god's sake. am glad pato is gone. Why Milan keep playing right footed players on left position
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 5:58pm
I do see the sense in signing zaccardo. The new milan will be a consistantly young squad and this approach is the correct way forward and as a lifelong milan fan a very exciting time however any good squad needs experience and zaccardo brings this experience.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 5:32pm
Balotelli is a good signing for milan and a good signing for serie a in general. It's about time some stars come back in to serie a. I really think he's going to make an effort to be a real proffesional now. Now he can finally wear milan shirt without Materazzi kicking his ass in the locker room :D
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 5:12pm
pato out and balotelli in, can't complain with than. zaccardo adds experience and can play right accross the back four and is a better player than mesbah, acerbi and bonnera. Salamon i've not seen much off but he sounds promising. potential replacement for ambrosini in the long run? or is he more suited at centreback? Emanuelson never got going at Milan, made his name as a wing back/winger and allegri plays him as a centre mid or trequartista? not to disappointed with his departur.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 4:41pm
This analysis isnt that great. Your really criticizing the sale of Pato? Pato was just about useless for two years. Even when he wasn't injured, I found it impossible to see him carrying the club. Selling him was necessary because it funded the balotelli move. And the purchase of Zaccardo served two purposes. It got rid of Mesbah, a terrible defender, and brought a versatile and experienced defender to the team. A+ for this transfer window.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 2:39pm
I completely agree with the authors position on the Zaccardo deal. What Milan didn't need was another fullback, with De Sciglio, Abate, Antonini (when fit) and Constant (who looks to have found a position that suites him) more than adequate cover there. What Milan really needed was a quality center-back (as a poster has put possible Ogbonna or Astori). Granted they wouldn't come cheap, but i think that would've been more necessary than than Balotelli!
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 2:19pm
Come on! Zaccardo is a great signing. Far more assured than the likes of Yepes, Bonera or Zapata.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 2:07pm
Emaneulson was constantly played out of position. Zaccardo signing? He is needed against Barcelona, i would rather have at full back a man who won the world cup instead of a boy who won nothing. De Sciglio is not ready for this match yet. He is improving all the time, i think he will mature into a fine player, but the present in football is just as important as the future, Any Arsenal fan will tell you that (except Wenger!). The perfect squad is a mix of youth and experience, not just kids
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 1:54pm
How can you say some depth at the back isnt needed? Of course it is and Zaccardo is welcome at Milan. Now if they could replace or even semi-replace Thiago Silva I'd be a happy chappy.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 1:44pm
Zaccardo signing shouldn't be treated with confusion it is fairly obvious why milan signed him and what qualities he is able to bring which milan lack, in addition i would speculate he is a possible replacement for yepes.

As for people leaving i am more in favour of acerbi departure it was obvious to most milan fans that he was struggling to adapt to the club and he pretty said as much in one of today articles.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 1:02pm
i love emanuelson's versatility. if he doesn't deliver the blame should go to allegri who insists to use him as treq not winger at the left.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 12:50pm
I for one thinks that Milan had the greatest January windows amongst all Serie-A teams. Absolutely loved the signing of Balo and Zaccardo, who I think will shore up our defence, contrary to the author's belief.

I'm also surprised that I am not THAT disappointed with Pato leaving, probably because he unfortunately spent more times on the bench than on the pitch.

My only other January wishlist was Kaka, too bad that we can't bring him home.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 12:37pm
Pato's had four years to "fire Milan to glory" in the CL. I'm just glad he's finally gone as he's injured 24/7 and should have been sold LAST January in exchange for Tevez.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 11:32am
Don't know anybody in their right mind who would want the disruptive, negative influence of Balotelli in their squad. There is no question he is talented but he is a head case ! If he is so good why was he not in the first team regularly with Man City. He had an italian manager who could communicate with him. He is the guy who gets sent off when his team need him to keep his cool - instead he loses it and the team suffers. He is a terrible terrible purchase - can only hope he has grown up!
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 11:22am
This article smacks of arrogance and ignorance. Zaccardo will prove to be a fantastic signing for milan, as he brings experience and versatility to a notoriously struggling back line. He will bring much needed positional shape and hopefully will keep bonera off the pitch. fantastic signing, and a bargain at that.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 11:22am
I think it was necessary that pato was sold, he was injoured all the time, and now we have balotelli instead
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:57am
Odd analysis. Over critical of Pazzini and Emanuelson and zero analysis of Balotelli. Pazzini has had a decent season despite not having a regular run in the starting line up. His movement is excellent and he does well to hold up the ball. There was nothing wrong with Emanuelson's delivery but he was constantly played in the wrong position. Was he not one of the only highlights in our defeat to Lazio. We should have kept him as he gave us a different option on the left hand side.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:49am
I don't agree that zaccardo is a pointless signing. I'd prefer him at the back to bonera any day. Also pazzini still has much to offer, niang is simply not ready to be ahead of him. I must say I've not managed to catch enough of emmsnuelson playing, but he always struck me as decent enough. Is he as bad as he is made out to be here,?
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:43am
So great to see a big signing coming back into the league. Equally happy to see Emanuelson and Mesbah leave. I would've liked to see Astori or Ogbonna come in as well but the current squad is capable of 3rd place. I'd be interested to see how Constant would fare in the midfield (assuming we have De Sciglio at left back and Abate on the right) it could be a good move..
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 10:12am
I wish Bartosz Salamon would improve to become of the best defenders in the world. I think he has everything needed to be a great centerback who is very much needed in Milan nowadyas.
Balotelli is a great buy without doubt. he must improve and show the world his worth.
on the 3rd February, 2013 at 9:47am

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