Sep 012015

The summer 2015 transfer window has come and gone and it ended with a whimper. The promise and goodwill of late spring and early summer days evaporated in the last days and weeks of the window.

Witsel Milan

Axel Witsel in action vs Milan in 2012

What started with an exciting new ownership structure and a new more experienced coach started losing steam slowly. Early June brought on news of Silvio Berlusconi selling 48% of Milan to Bee Taechaubol and his partners and not long after Sinisa Mihajlovic accepting the coaching job. On the day when the coach was introduced several so called dead weights were confirmed to be leaving. Bonera, Muntari, Essien and Pazzini exited the team along with those – Bocchetti, van Ginkel and Destro – whose loans expired. Rami also exited and packed his bags back to Spain with Sevilla, albeit too cheaply.

After failure to sign Jackson Martinez Adriano Galliani turned to Carlos Bacca from Sevilla and the prolific goal scorer and recent Europa Cup winner signalled a new era of spending. Luiz Adriano from Shakhtar Donetsk, Jose Mauri, a free agent after Parma’s collapse, and Andrea Bertolacci followed in soon after. The total transfer fees paid had already reached €58 million.

The new stadium issue seemed to take a step forward with the Fondazione Fiera accepting a Milan offer for the land in the Portello area adjacent to Casa Milan. That location started unravelling a few weeks later with questions about the land. Berlusconi and his daughter Barbara’s timetable for a new stadium by 2018 was already in trouble with other locations being considered but no final decision imminent.

Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic claimed that he is not afraid to speak his mind and apparently convinced Galliani and Berlusconi to pursue Alessio Romagnoli from Roma. The young central defender played under the Serbian at Sampdoria. Weeks of negotiating led to his capture and took the transfer spending into the 80 millions.

Talk of Ibra making a Milan return sprang up as he was thought to be willing to cancel his PSG contract and rejoin. Pictures and reports were prominent for a few days before they died down partly in response to PSG’s unwillingness to lose a star name. Axel Witsel, the Belgian international at Zenit, was another name often mentioned. Many questioned his quality but as friendlies in China and at the Audi Cup in Munich in particular continued to emphasis, Milan’s midfield lacked depth at best. He would be a solid presence helping to move the ball up the pitch.

As is normal with any transfer window various names were rumoured to be close to joining. Everybody from Monaco’s Aymen Abdennour to Genoa’s Diego Perotti were mentioned. As time went by so did the quality or excitement level of the names being mentioned. Add to it players like Stephan El Shaarawy departing (on an initial loan to Monaco) and Hachim Mastour reportedly being shopped around (he eventually left on deadline day to Malaga on a two year loan) all added to a sense of disappointment or anticlimax.


Ibra didn’t make his anticipated Milan return

With a 25 player squad limit coming soon Galliani was also on increased pressure to reign in the numbers. Deep into August Milan were still not in a comfortable spot. Although the 25 number applies to those over 21 years of age only there were and are still issues because the limit requires a 4 player quota of home grown and the team’s own youth players. Despite the early clear out in June players like Zaccardo, Nocerino and Matri were still wearing the Milan shirt as the 2015-2016 season started and many rightfully questioned why.

The final days of August featured yet more surprise with Mario Balotelli making a loan return after an exact one year flop at Liverpool. Slovakian Juraj Kucka also arrived from Genoa, a solid but underwhelming choice to aid Milan’s midfield. The same midfield that had begged for bigger names and was run over in the opening game of the season at Fiorentina too. Alsessandro Matri and Zaccardo were finally offloaded to Lazio and Carpi respectively, though the former only a loan, to at least lighten the weight of the squad. The final hour rumours continued to feature more recent names like Sampdoria’s Roberto Soriano but nothing happened and all reports indicated Milan couldn’t or didn’t want to spend more.

Milan fans’ agitation once again grew as it seemed that the required pieces for a top 3 finish, or arguably a top 5, in Serie A were missing. Where does midfield service come from was a question that was expected to be solved early with the new money. Where was the midfield creativity? Why was Gabriel Paletta a name to leave but Mexes renewed? More questions than answers.

If – and the if got bigger with the recent financial crisis in China – Bee Taechaubol intends to heavily promote Milan in China and rest of Asia he surely needs bigger names and a fast route back to the Champions League. What has been done by Galliani this summer doesn’t take Milan there.

It was a summer of change for all of Milan’s rivals too with many important changes at Juventus, Roma and Inter. It might not prove relevant if Mihajlovic doesn’t find a way to get a lot from the squad he has, or doesn’t get more reinforcements in January.

Galliani can not and must not survive one more failure, if Milan’s position doesn’t look well next May he must be the first to leave.

Aug 292015

Milan Empoli

Week 2 and it’s already a must win. Sinisa Mihajlovic claimed during the pre-season that Milan wants to win every game, this is now even more important as the 2015-2016 home opener at Fiorentina soon turned into a debacle. A card happy referee, poor organization and inexperience against a good pressing opposition made for a near disastrous loss.

Empoli provide a lesser opponent. The Tuscan team features ex-Milan player Riccardo Saponara and the aging Massimo Maccarone in attack. A win is crucial following a strange week in the transfer market that featured a surprise return in Mario Balotelli. It is also important to enter the derby, next match day, with three points.

There have been whispers that Mihajlovic is ready to change his preferred 4-3-1-2 in favour of a 4-3-3 but it seems more likely that the formation will remain the same with Cristian Zapata filling for the suspended Rodrigo Ely as he did when the latter got his second yellow last week. Other possible changes from week 1 – according to Gazzetta – are Suso and Nocerino replacing Honda and Bonaventura in the starting lineup. Balotelli, the other newcomer Juraj Kucka and Zaccardo are in the squad but Matri, Mexes and Jose Mauri are not even on the bench.

The match is at 20:45 Milan time on Saturday August 29th.

Follow the match on the forum.

Aug 282015

Kucka Milan

Transfer targets and rumoured names have taken a sharp turn in quality in the last week. Names like Ibra, Axel Witsel and Moutinho have given way to others who inspire less confidence. The Fiorentina defeat highlighted a lack of creativity, among other issues. To make a big leap from last season’s 10th place more needs to be done but now this seems unlikely.

Juraj Kucka, 28 year central midfielder, joins from Genoa on a four year contract for a reported €3 million. This is a name that has been rumoured for at least two summers but with the new funds most expected Milan to continue to aim higher this summer. He will add some quality in the central part of the pitch but lots more is needed to close the gap to the likes of Juventus and Roma.

Gabriel Paletta didn’t seem to be in coach Mihajlovic’s plans from the beginning. He seemed to realize it and asked for a way out. He has now joined Atalanta on loan.

The mercato window closes in less than a week. Milan still lacks quality and depth at midfield in particular.

Aug 252015

Balotelli Milan

A year to the day Mario Balotelli was sold to Liverpool for €20 million he rejoins Milan on a free loan.

Uninterested is only one of the many ways he has been characterized by fans and coaches. In January 2013 after joining Milan from Manchester City for around the same €20 million many predicted or at least hoped he will change his attitude for a team he had said he loves. Eighteen months later his goal tally wasn’t the worst (30 in 54 matches in all competitions) but he just didn’t fit. Whether it be on training ground, the dressing room or just everything in general Berlusconi and Milan made a decision to offload him, Liverpool came calling and Milan didn’t hesitate.

After not convincing, Liverpool started a desperate attempt to find another team for him and in a somewhat surprising move Milan appeared willing. It is said that he met personally with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic on Sunday and the go ahead was given to talk to Liverpool.

Today he has completed his Milan medical, will join on a free loan without a buy out clause and with Milan only paying a portion of his salary. The terms, as reported, say a lot about Liverpool’s view of the player.

Last year we were told the Liverpool move was his last chance. At only 25 is this his new last chance? How does he fit in a team with Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca? Stay tuned. FORZA MILAN

Aug 232015

Milan Fiorentina

A summer that can be termed revolutionary is about to end and a new era is in full swing. A much changed Milan team will start the 2015-2016 Serie A season with higher aims and more money hoping for a swift return to the elite or at least to the European stage. Fiorentina, themselves with a new coach in Paulo Sousa and changes (Mario Suarez and Davide Astori just to name two) provide the opposition on the first match day.

Sinisa Mihajlovic has settled on a 4-3-1-2 and signs in the pre-season have been more positive than not. The Coppa Italia lineup earlier in the week vs Perugia is likely to remain unchanged partly due to Jeremy Menez remaining on the injury list with a back problem. The other major injury is M’Baye Niang who likely will not return to the line up before November.

Diego Lopez hopes to continue to provide man of the match performances and Mihajlovic will start the season depending on youth in defense. Mattia De Sciglio or Ignazio Abate will play along side Alessio Romagnoli, Rodrigo Ely and Luca Antonelli. The quartet’s average age is in the low 20s making them one of the youngest. The midfield three will be relying on Nigel de Jong cleaning up in the center with Andrea Bertolacci and Giacomo Bonaventura on the sides. Riccardo Montolivo’s status is somewhat unanswered, it is unlikely that he remains benched often when healthy. The front two are established. The two big summer buys, Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca, only need a settled provider which for now is likely to remain Keisuke Honda. The final days of the transfer window might change this however.

The transfer window will close after two Serie A matches. Empoli will provide the opposition next week.

Follow the match on the forum.


Aug 162015

Milan Perugia

By virtue of having finished poorly and in 10th place last season Milan’s Coppa Italia season starts in August, instead of the more customary January dates where the top 8 Serie A teams join the the competition. Perugia are the opponents in this third round. The Umbria team defeated Reggiana 3-1 to get to this round and features players like Matteo Ardemagni, a former Milan primavera player, and Rodrigo Taddei, the former long time Roma player.

Sinisa Mihajlovic has said that he wants to field a strong team that fights for every match and also plans to start both Ely and Romagnoli in the center of defense. Menez is returning from an injury layoff and may get a few minutes. Milan are still searching for a player that would fit well behind the starting two forwards and Menez may be option besides the others tried already. Honda, Suso and Bonaventura are options but the team probably needs to find a better creative player for the 1 spot in the 4-3-1-2 formation.

The match was originally set for August 15th but it was set back and it is set for 9PM Milan time on August 17, 2015.

Follow the match on the forum

Aug 112015

After a long and on going transfer saga Alessio Romagnoli has completed his medical and joins from Roma for €25 million. It is thought that the fee paid to Roma may NOT include bonuses but only a future percentage if Milan were to sell Romagnoli in the future.

He spent last season on loan at Sampdoria with current Milan coach Mihajlovic, it seems the coach’s advice and trust of the young 20 year old defender convinced Galliani to push Roma’s Walter Sabatini to sell.

His Milan contract is for five years and is between €1.5 and €2 million a season net.

It is also thought that Milan will continue to try to offload Zaccardo and one other defender, possibly Paletta. Simone Verdi and Michael Agazzi are also on the way out, if a buyer can be found.

Jul 272015

AC Milan 2015 2016
Today the draw was made and the 2015-2016 fixture list released. The 2015-2016 Serie A season starts the weekend of August 22 and ends on May 15th.
Milan open the season at Fiorentina and end it at Roma. The first derby is on week 3, September 13th, and the return at the end of January. Week 13, November 22nd, features Milan at Juve with the return being in April. Milan play both first time Serie A teams Carpi and Frosinone in December, on the 6th and 20th of the month respectively.

Jul 132015

el shaarawy monaco
A deal that came quickly in the last few days is the somewhat surprising sale of Stephan El Shaarawy to Monaco. Monaco made it official today that the he is joining them. The details of the transfer seem to an initial loan of €2-3 million and a mandatory buyout that adds another €13-15 if El Shaarawy plays 15 games for the Ligue 1 team.

Milan has a large squad and with other attacking buys this summer and squad size restrictions coming next summer outgoing transfers are inevitable. However, selling El Shaarawy is likely a mistake. Many have already said that he is injury prone and getting upwards of €18 million for him is a good move. This remains to be seen, when healthy he has shown flashes and this was also true in the last few games of the 2014-2015 season. There is also a likelihood that Hachim Mastour will follow El Shaarawy out of Milan.

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Was it time for Stephan El Shaarawy to leave Milan?

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Jul 132015

Milan Player Avatars
A new set of seven forum avatars have been created by forum member Sputnik. They feature Diego Lopez, Giacomo Bonaventura, Luca Antonelli plus new Milan players Luiz Adriano and Andrea Bertolacci.
Visit the forum to participate in the discussions and to use the avatars!

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