A handful of fresh new faces have joined up with the Rossoneri this summer, however, it’s some of the longer tenured players that have something to prove to newly appointed Milan boss, Sinisa Mihajlovic
Adriano Galliani, also known as “il Condor” to many, has been an active man thus far in the summer mercato. Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano, Andrea Bertolacci and Jose Mauri are among the newest reinforcements to a Milan side hoping to regain their strength as an Italian powerhouse once again. Rumors of Alessio Romagnoli, Axel Witsel and Zlatan Ibrahimovic continue to control the rumor mill, however, in order for the club to bounce back in 2015-16, it’s going to take a collective effort from the entire squad.
It seems that Milan are willing to invest handsomely into the transfer market but you can’t expect the club to be completely flipped over on its head and replace every single player. With that being said, there are a select handful of current squad players that have a lot to prove to new manager Sinisa Mihajlovic this season. Here is a shortlist of the five players that need to show us something this season:
The 20-year old Frenchman has been with the club for a few years now and shockingly is one of the longer tenured players despite being so young. After a solid loan spell with Genoa last season in which he scored 5 goals in fourteen matches, it appears that he is perhaps part of the future for now after finding an extension with Milan earlier this summer. However, that does not mean he will be given quality playing time in Mihajlovic’s 4312 formation as the attack will be swarmed with the likes of Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano and potentially Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Where he earns time is through his training sessions prior to match day. This could be his last chance to prove himself with the club that took him in from Caen back in 2012.
The 29-year old Japanese international arrived for free back in January 2014 with the expectation of being a key man. A quality left-footed set piece man, he was brought in to play a more central role which is traditionally his preferred position. However, since his arrival he has been interchanged under three managers in Massimiliano Allegri, Clarence Seedorf and recently Pippo Inzaghi. Honda managed to get off to a hot start last season but fell off dramatically, many contributing it to his playing as a winger. Under Mihajlovic, he will be slotted in as a number 10 which will truly give us an idea of the player he is.
Suso arrived to the rossoneri this past January from Liverpool for a small fee before his contract ran out with the Merseyside club. The young Spaniard has always possessed the ability, but not the opportunity. The English club never really gave him the quality minutes to prove himself which is why he was loaned out to Spanish side Almeria to earn some seasoning where he showed glimpses of his raw talent. A very versatile player, Suso allows Mihajlovic to place him in a few different roles which should help him get some minutes. However, there has been rumors of a loan move away but it seems that he is wanted for at least the first half of the season leaving open the chance for him to finally prove that he deserves more of a longer look.
Mattia De Sciglio
The past two seasons for the young Italian have been frustrating for both player and the supporters. De Sciglio was one of Serie A’s top performers at his fullback position a few years ago giving hope to Milanisti that perhaps the newest wave of great Italian defenders was to include the now 22-year old. However, injuries and poor performances have held De Sciglio back as of late, leading to concerns that maybe he isn’t the long-term option at either fullback position. With Calabria waiting to take someone’s position and the duo of Abate/Antonelli the favored tandem, Mattia De Sciglio is no longer a “sure thing.” This season he must prove that he, much like Stephan El Shaarawy, won’t fall victim to the injury plague.
Milan’s captain Riccardo Montolivo has competition for the armband in the name of Nigel de Jong. Many favor the Dutchman as the true leader of this team rather than the former Fiorentina man, however it seems that Montolivo will be given a fair shot to reclaim his captain status this season. Montolivo suffered a major injury days before the World Cup 2014 in Brazil and since then, has struggled to find his way back. Last season, the 30-year old featured in a dozen matches throughout all competitions and in those matches, he failed to leave a lasting impression. With the club adding Bertolacci, Mauri and perhaps a few more additional midfielders this summer, Montolivo has his work cut out for him. He must prove that he still has more quality football left in the tank.