A little over a month and a half ago, the first article of the Milan Chronicles was written with its focus being a very promising future, but only in the long-term and not so much in the short-term. Now twelve games on, results have produced more smiles than frowns from anyone with an ounce of care towards the Milan outfit.
Where do hopes and ideas stand moving forward?
In regards to philosophy, hopes of building a new generation that is based on Italians and even more so, young Italians, Milan is right on track. Looking at the ideas of how the set up of the squad is placed, so far so good since comfort and familiarity has been at the forefront. The brightest spot that has come about in regards of this season’s results is the first 11. A core of players that have stapled themselves into the fabric of Milan’s success as of now. Small concerns have creeped up as to who can be alternates to the foundations that have locked down their respective places.
With the evident resources that will be available in the near future, where and how should these investments be distributed? Even more so, in what type of philosophy will it be most beneficial?
If the reality of the matter is Milan cannot compete with the juggernauts of the football world such as Real Madrid and Barcelona — financially that is — then the obvious route should be the one that is being taken of recent times: Youth and ‘Italian’ youth if possible.
With the understanding that goalkeeping will not be a major concern for years to come, field players will be at the forefront. The definite interests going forward will be a left back, center back, box-to-box midfielder, and direct alternatives for the forward positions. Reason being since their current number 1 and 2 in the depth charts for goalkeeping are 17 and 16 years old respectfully, who are Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessandro Plizzarri, the future and present seem to be covered.
The idea of adding a left-back to the depth charts simply comes from the realisation that Mattia De Sciglio, who is a very capable left back but is actually a natural right footed player, may possibly be more comfortable on the right flank. Other than the 29-year old Luca Antonelli, there is no technical left sided option, so in essence, this should be a concern going forward. If the philosophy is the basis of future purchases, the ideal investment could possibly be Nicola Murru.
The Cagliari man has all the requirements to be the right element to offer Vincenzo Montella. A young Italian to begin with, a natural left foot, a touch of technique,and a very able man-marker with speed and endurance to call the left touchline his own.
If and should the center back needed fits the criteria that was mentioned earlier, the obvious choices that have been mentioned in the previous months are of quality. Such as Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal) and Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo). Instead of these possible avenues, a player that should garner even more consideration can and should be Mattia Caldara.
The Atalanta product has all the tools to make him an even more intriguing alternative. Yet again youth, Italian, with the undoubted man marking and physical requirements to pair perfectly with Alessio Romagnoli. Adding to the matter his exploits going forward in set piece opportunities has shown he can be a threat to be reckoned with. Two goals for a center back is a hefty return in regards to the number of matches played so far.
The box-to-box idea is more an idea than a pressing issue. Juraj Kucka, who has given stability and guts so far this season, may need a rest to recharge those batteries. The best answer to these worries could have a similar path as well. Quite simply Marco Benassi. He may have been raised within the Inter school but has grown tremendously at the home of Torino. Once again youth, Italian, and the superlatives of this gem are never ending. A fantastic off the ball player with technique, work ethic and bravery that have seen him grace the armband on a number of occasions for the Granata side.
As for the forward positions, the issues are not overwhelming. With M’Baye Niang, Gianluca Lapadula and Suso, this Milan side is definitely counting their lucky stars. Considering that patience and little help from Genoa last season have shown that Suso is very able and an investment that makes sense. Niang, who if unstable minds had been unwary of the enormous potential that he possesses, and rather than being patience had they cashed in on a Leicester bid that had a lot of intrigue. Current state of affairs could have been very different. Luckily, everything fell into place and cooler heads prevailed.
Now if investments are made in this department, logic should be at its highest. If money is not a concern, then the obvious choice should be Domenico Berardi. There is no need to introduce the most coveted talent in Italian circles today. Considering age and his career goal tally, in 10 years from now the world may speak of him in the same breath as the legends of the past.
If money is a concern and unraveling a new gem is on the cards, then a interesting alternative could be Luca Garritano. Like a broken record, youth, Italian, the most raw option but with the most gain in regards to actual cost and potential cost in the not so distant future. A player with tons of speed and dribbling abilities, it needs to be seen if his finishing is of a Serie A quality but with no obligation to be a first 11 player from the get go, time will be on his side.
Many may see this last idea as ludicrous, but prior to making a judgment on the thought, what should be considered is the actual investment made on Niang and Suso; a shocking sum of 4.3 million euros combined. Money well spent, considering their actual value as it stands today. So just to reassure ideas, the actual figure should not be the main concern, the talent and future return is most important.
Let’s keep our minds on the most important factor here, as philosophy remains at the forefront. Leo Tolstoy, one of the best authors mankind has ever produced has the perfect quote to end this article. “The strongest of all warriors are these two: Time and Patience.” So let’s hope the time is now and the patience is plentiful.