So how have Milan done this season defensively? Certainly not bad considering the way they started their campaign. And although they have been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism and how they have a maligned back-line, Milan has given up the SECOND fewest goals at home, trailing only Juventus and in the league the third best behind Juve and Napoli.
The Rossoneri reached the round of 16 in the Champions league before being knocked out by Barcelona, exited the Coppa Italia in the semi’s at the hands of Juve and stay at 3rd in the league table 4 points behind Napoli. There may be numerous on going theories trying to explain what happened with Milan’s season, but one thing is for sure – their attack looks good enough (El Shaarawy, Balotelli, Boateng) to carry them forward to the next couple of season. However, Milan has some serious thinking to do about their defence and midfield.
Now, let’s take a look at who will leave, join, and stay
If there’s one thing Milan fans have grown accustomed to, it’s never having a world-class goalkeeper. Even the side which broke the unbeatable streak had a mediocre player like Rossi between the pipes. Out of the three goalkeepers Abbiati, Amelia, and youngster Gabriel who are currently competing for the no 1 position any one should/must be dethroned for various seasons.
Abbiati will anyways leave in the foreseeable future, He’s turning 36 this year and is expected to set sails and venture onwards after having had a serviceable career.
No one is really sure what Gabriel does around Milanello other than give great halftime massages. He looked very shaky in last year’s Olympics with Brazil and hasn’t been talked about much and will probably stay with the club and continue his development. And youngster Amelia is surely not a top club material. The shot-stopper has always been mediocre during the chances he got, and will probably look for a starting gig with his ex-side Livorno if they don’t blow away their promotion in Serie B.
Although Abbiati may still keep his place in the starting berth next season, signing a goal keeper should be Milan’s their top priority this summer. Mattia Perin, currently plying his trade at Pescara, and owned by Genoa has been the name that is constantly linked with the Milan and knowing the strange relationship that Galliani has with Genoa’s president Preziosi (the signing of promising youngsters like Boateng, El Shaarawy, tons more), Perinto could easily end up with the San Siro outfit next term.
Coming to the defenders, the right back position belongs to Ignazio Abate. After nearly being sold in January, Milan needs to keep him as he is a serviceable full-back with world class speed and keeping a player who has come through the club’s youth ranks is always good for the environment inside the team.
In the center, expect Philippe Mexes to stay for another season and Daniele Bonera will most likely stay for another season as a reserve, while Mario Yepes the 37-year old will leave.
The situation in the left-back role is a pretty tricky one as questions arise whether Mattia De Sciglio should be continued as a left back. He is a natural right-back who has been deployed in the left this season due to his versatility and it is incredible that the youngster is so versatile already as he can play on both flanks and slide in the center during an emergency situation which pushes back Kevin Constant, another promising youngster to the reserves.
The wild card is Christian Zapata here. He has proven to be a decent starter, but looks very shaky in possession and it will be interesting to see what the Rossoneri will do with him.
And as far as the signings are concerned expect either one of the following three to join: Angelo Ogbonna, Dede, Davide Astori. One of these three defenders will wear the Rossoneri kit next season as a starter.
Goalkeeper: Christian Abbiati
Right-back: Ignazio Abate
Centre-back: Philippe Mexes
Centre-back: Dede/Bartosz Salamon
Left-back: Mattia De Sciglio