Milan has some decisions to make this upcoming summer. With Alex, Cristian Zapata and Keisuke Honda each being talked about for an extension, we raise the question as to whether these players would be worth extending to help the club in the future.
The Brazilian will be 34 years old in June and it is clear that his best days are far behind him. While he has performed relatively well for Milan this season, the former Chelsea man could be a perfect example of a typical Milan move: overextending a player whose age and fitness will be a problem going forward.
Alex would come at a great risk if Milan decide to offer him an extension. We have seen in the past how Alex sometimes has difficulty staying on the pitch, and he has dealt will numerous muscular problems the last two seasons. The logical move would be to move on from extending the Brazilian and sign a younger, more durable center back that could partner Alessio Romagnoli consistently in the defense for the future. In addition, Alex makes 2,500,00 euro a season, which is quite high for an aging center back who is injury prone. Ultimately, Alex has been good for Milan this season, however long-term he is not worth the risk moving forward.
The 29-year-old Colombian has been a standout for Milan over the last month. His play has vastly improved since Mihajlović re-included in him in the starting eleven. In the past, Zapata has disappointed many Milan fans with his inconsistent play and costly errors in inopportune moments. He has been quoted saying, “No one can stop me when I am at full concentration.” Over the last couple games this has been true, but is Zapata telling us he has lacked concentration in the past? The question arises as to why the rossoneri should re-sign someone who admittedly has lacked focus. Playing for a club as big as Milan, one does not have the time to lack concentration, especially at the center back position where one mistake could cost the team points.
With Philippe Mexes seemingly on his way out this summer, Milan may have no choice but to extend Zapata unless they decide to sign more than one center back over the summer transfer window. If Milan do sign a premier centre-half over the summer, Zapata would serve as a valuable back up for the club next season especially if they qualify for Europe. Turning 30 in September, his age does not seem to be a problem and he has shown promise when he’s motivated. If the former Villareal and Udinese man continues this run of play, he could be worth a 1-2-year extension for Milan.
Also at 29 years of age, the Japanese international has turned things around at Milan since the new year began. When Mihajlovic opted to use a 4-4-2 formation, Honda was able to find – and solidify – his spot at the right midfield position. To begin his first full season at Milan last year, he scored six goals in the first two months and everybody was thrilled with the signing of the ex-CSKA Moscow playmaker. However, the rest of Milan’s season under Pippo Inzaghi was seen as another disappointment. Initially, it seemed Honda would be used as a trequartista. That plan was quickly scrapped by Mihajlovic and Honda was often found phased out of the squad. He also controversially criticized the club while he was on international duty with Japan.
Being one of the highest earners making 2,750,000 euros a season, offering Honda a contract extension ultimately depends on if he can keep his good form down the stretch. Honda seems to have earned the trust of Mihajlović after jockeying with current Genoa winger Alessio Cerci for the first portion of the season. This situation will be interesting come summer as Milan may elect to bolster their squad in this area, but that also rests on whether they find themselves back in Europe.