Rossoneri hopeful young squad can bring success back.
Our “Serie A Six to Watch” series concludes with AC Milan, who will look to improve on their third-placed finish from last season.
Little has changed at Milan over the course of the summer in comparison to their Serie A rivals, and that has been emphasised as a positive ahead of the new campaign by the club hierarchy.
Massimiliano Allegri received the backing of owner Silvio Berlusconi in the immediate aftermath of last season, while the club rejected offers for Stephan El Shaarawy after the promising youngster made it clear he wanted to stay.
However, vice-President Adriano Galliani has had his hands somewhat tied this summer due to the inability to offload some of the fringe players in the squad. As a result, there are perhaps only 2 or 3 new faces in the squad coupled with the promotion of the next starlets into the first-team.
It has been the case for some time that Milan have decided to develop young players and mould a squad capable of challenging for years to come. With the inability to spend vast amounts on individual players, the financial forecast of the club points to a sustainable and even profitable model.
Following a meeting at the end of last season, it was decided that the Rossoneri would resort back to using a 4-3-1-2 system, particularly considering they had signed youngster Riccardo Saponara.
While the 21-year-old has dismissed comparisons with Kaka, there are certain aspects of his game that undoubtedly mirror those of his Brazilian idol, and much is expected of him when he returns from injury.
In the meantime, Milan will be expected to continue with the 4-3-3 with either Kevin-Prince Boateng or M’Baye Niang deployed on the right wing.
With both Adem Ljajic and Keisuke Honda no closer to moving to San Siro at the time of writing, Andrea Poli perhaps remains the biggest signing of the summer.
The former Sampdoria midfielder will add energy and quality to the midfield, and will be expected to slot in alongside captain Riccardo Montolivo and Nigel De Jong, with the Dutchman looking impressive in pre-season on his comeback from a ruptured Achilles.
There is still time in the transfer window for Milan to bring in reinforcements, and it is expected that they will act if they successfully secure their place in the Champions League group stages.
However, despite the lack of new signings they remain a force in Serie A, and while they may not be as strong as rivals Juventus, they certainly have the belief that they can compete with Mario Balotelli leading the way in his first full season with the club.
Probable Serie A line-up (4-3-1-2):