Summer 2019 … slow so far

The new rebuild, year zero , etc. is under way. Ricky Massara, Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban, complete with shiny titles, are set to rebuild Milan. Elliott and CEO Ivan Gazidis are promising to make Milan challengers again. How fast and at what expense? No one can really tell. Notwithstanding any possible reprieve via the Europa League exclusion deal with UEFA there are limits at what Milan can and is able to do. Not to mention the possible expense of a new (shared) stadium to come.

The three sporting side leaders introduced Marco Giampaolo as coach, the introduction news conference held last week was not even big on generalities and few details were available or given. Giampaolo mentioned that his preferred system, the  4-3-1-2, can be modified if the players at his disposal demand something else. He spoke of general objectives but not specifics. He mainly steered away from commenting on players’ available or those who could become available.

The mercato itself has not been the fastest or most exciting. Rade Krunic was made official soon after the new coach officially arrived, Theo Hernandez a bit earlier. The latter is a useful player but there has been little of note of who he is replacing and as is common for Milan outgoing transfers are seemingly laboured. Rodriguez, Laxalt or Strinic plus Hernandez form a deep left side but one has to go, may be two. The central defense is bare with only three players in Romagnoli, Musacchio and Caldara on the squad. Zapata was let go – or didn’t re sign-  when the team knew Caldara is out injured for the early months of the season. Does this team now need two central defenders now? Or perhaps one if youth product Matteo Gabbia is ready for the bench.

The midfield is still bare with arrivals necessary, and not only for depth. The departures have been replaced with Krunic and possibly Ismael Bennacer arriving shortly. The on again, off again Jordan Veretout saga has made the French player look like he is in as much in demand as a super star, he is now unlikely to arrive, and perhaps for the best. His story, if rumours are to be true, point at a big problem for Milan. As was hinted at when defender Ozan Kabak was to sign with Milan the team has a strict requirement to reduce the wage bill. Players like Kabak and Veretout were apparently offered salaries as low as 1 million net. Nowhere near enough in today’s football. Kessie and Biglia are still Milan players, are they enough and will they even remain? If they don’t remain then the massive renewal after Bertolacci, Montolivo, Mauri and Bakayoko’s departures is multiplied to impossible levels.

There are rumours that a player like Cutrone could be available for sale at a reduced price. Why for sale and why reduced price is baffling. Center forward is perhaps even more important if Giampaolo sticks to his two forwards system. Cutrone along with Andre Silva and Piatek need help more than they need to be sold.

Back to the formation question, there is metnion that Suso is being tested and thought of as a triquestra or the 1 behind the two strikers. Previous evidence indicates that is not going to work and what of Paqueta if that does work.

The conclusion to all of the above is that few things are set or ready and with preseason starting soon the rebuild needs to accelerate so that the 2019-2010 season can hit the ground running. Is someone like Luka Modric possible to kick start the season? A few whispers say yes. Boban could use his name to attract such a player. For now though the mercato just needs movement. 2020-2021 Champions League football is a necessity for the team.