1.How would you rate AC Milan’s summer business so far?
Rishay: Excellent! They have gone out early with a plan and already spent 100m to bolster their squad. Milan should be challenging for the Champions League spots in Serie A next season and it will be good to see them back amongst the greats in the CL sooner than later. I expect them to add a handful of players as the window goes on. In some ways, you’ve been wondering why teams don’t lock down their business early in the window and it is good to see that the recruitment has been more proactive – a sign of a club in growth.
Alex: They’ve done excellent work so far. I think the hype around it has been a little much but we have to consider the context, which is that Milan have been completely impotent in the transfer market for years, now. With that as the background, securing Rodriguez, Musaccheo, Kessie and Andre Silva so early in the summer has to be considered a great success – especially the price at which they got (or will eventually pay) for Kessie. Absolute steal.
Bernie: It’s been a competent summer and I’m particularly impressed by the signing of Kessie. However, nothing to inspire confidence that the AC Milan of old is back or anything. I expected that with their new ownership, the Rossoneri would deliver a marquee name. Perhaps that will come, especially if they can bring in a big name striker.
2. Does AC Milan still have the historic aura to attract big name players?
Bernie: I’m not too sure. The historic factor alone won’t bring in big names and that is sad to see. Players no longer harbour big dreams of joining AC Milan. One of the issues is the state of Serie A. Twenty years ago it was perhaps the number one league but now it lags behind so the top players just aren’t interested in Italy outside of Juventus. Milan really need to throw money at the situation and ramp up quick because their aura is definitely gone. They should avoid becoming the Italian Liverpool or Arsenal at all costs.
Rishay: Just the name “AC Milan” comes with a tinge of historical awe. The club has won 7 CLs, and is one of the “big 3 in Italy” (Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan). However, the “big 3” has become more of a “big 1” in recent times as the Milan teams are in a slump. With AC Milan placed 6th, 7 points behind an EL berth, you can expect them to not only challenge for a spot in Europe, but also try to reclaim their fear factor over teams. I believe they are more or less at the start of a cycle right now, and with Donnarumma as a goalkeeper with all the ingredients to rival Buffon’s legacy, Milan are an exciting prospect and are building from the ground up. (Note: 5 minutes after this piece, it was announced that Donnarumma will not extend his contract with Milan which runs out in 2018)
Alex: Only when all other things are equal. I think players are attracted to historically significant clubs, but only if they’re also going to be paid well and have a chance of winning things. So for example, if Milan and Roma are both equally well run, paying similar wages and have similar squads, I suspect Milan’s historical significance might help them sign a player deciding between the two. But we’ve seen for the last few years that if the club is in shambles, players will avoid it. Carlos Bacca aside.
3. Will Milan get back into the Champions League spots and consistently remain there over the next few years?
Alex: The fourth spot doesn’t kick in until the 2018/19 season, so while I don’t expect Milan to get into the top 3 next year, I do expect that both they and Inter will really push Napoli and Roma over the next few seasons if they make the right appointments and spend their new money wisely. Lazio have been remarkable under Simone Inzaghi, but without the same financial backing they will surely fade out of the race in the long term.
I actually think Inter are most likely to challenge the current top three for a CL spot next season, as their squad is already strong, they’ve just been horribly managed. Spalletti should change that.
Rishay: The goal for Milan is clear – win the Serie A, and reclaim their spots among the European giants. They’ve quickly spent 100m in the transfer market and will likely spend more as the Summer goes on. Italian teams (including the national team) have generally been older and have taken the mature approach with their tactical nous over the generations past. However, Italy is now at the start of a new era, with many younger players starting to feature. Milan will most certainly be at the forefront of the new era of Italian football and you can expect them to be back to where they were. When their teams have been good, they’ve been great. We can be certain that they’ll have a great team again within the next 3-4 years.
Bernie: Milan, are much better positioned than Inter Milan that’s for sure. They have a good spine and good young players coming through. Milan need an absolute overhaul to fox that mess. Lazio are functional but you have to think that Milan’s new found wealth should be enough to overpower the capital club. I agree with Alex, they won’t make the top 3 this season but expect that once it becomes a top 4 league, Milan will be there and if they take advantage we could see the beginning of their resurgence.
So that’s it, have your say in the usual places!