Post Holiday Musings

Tullio M. Puglia

Hope these Musings bring some post Holiday Cheer...

-The sale of both Pato and Robinho are in the final stages. Thankfully, there will be no physical exam for Pato at Corinthians as he would promptly fail. While 15M is nowhere near the 35M of last January, it shows how far the once over hyped "star" has fallen. Robinho on the other hand is a bit more puzzling for me, valued only at 12M Galliani is still working through a few Clubs with Santos being the front runner. I sort of wish Robinho would stay. He could be a big part of this team, but his desire to go home is not the first request and you have to imagine someday someone would have to honor ot or he would be frozen out of Milan as he was at Madrid and Man City. Which leads me to a simple point, what has happened to Milan's ability to judge Brazilian players?! Where is Leo to answer some questions for me, these were both on him. About time Milan finds a new well as this yellow and green one is dry as a bone.

- The pending sales of both Brazilian attackers means Milan has some holes to fill in attack. Two names are being banded about, the first being Josip Ilicic of Palermo. The 24 year old Slovenian can play RW, Striker, and CAM and is just the sort of player needed to fill the various attacking roles that Max Allegri has deployed this season. Wide right in a 4-3-3 or 4--2-3-1, in the hole in a 4-3-1-2, or alonside ElS in a 4-3-2-1. His versatility and work rate would be a welcome improvement. Relations with Palermo, while not great, have improved and while unlucky Zamparini let's him go with out a fight. Palermo's sporting director Lo Monaco looks more apt to cut the deal.

-The second name is none other than Didier Drogba. While many will squawk at this name like parrots, always saying the same thing, "why don't we play youth, why don't we play youth." The fact of the matter is our youth, Paloschi, as well as Ganz and Kinsgley Boateng, are either on loan or simply not ready for rigors of Serie A. Especially a second half of the season like the one on deck for AC Milan, full of must win games and pressurized environments. If ever there was a time to NOT bleed youngsters, this is it. Youth has been served this season with El Sharaawy and De Sciglio, and rarely do teams have two young stand outs. What Milan need now is a veteran, a bulldog, a battering ram and while Drogba is long in the tooth he knows how to go out and win you matches with his physicality. Yes the move is a bit late, and puzzling with the African Nations Cup around the corner, but still worth it even if it is only for the second half of the season. Worst case scenario, he doesn't score a single goal, but at least Milan will have someone who knows how to defend set pieces!

-Speaking of set pieces, Cagliari are ready to offload former Milan CB Davide Astori. The tall elegant CB has been fixture at Cagliari and improving beyond his years at 25. I was scoffed at for suggesting the sale of Mexes midweek but if you could fund a move for Astori and begin the process of pairing him with Zapata and Acerbi Milan's CB problems would improve dramatically. The problem is the signature is being chased by Napoli as well and the last time Milan and Napoli went head to head for a defender it was Cristian Maggio who scoffed at Milan, second time's the charm?

-Another defender on Milan's radar this summer, Federico Peluso, looks close to signing for Juventus. This is a shame really, first and foremost because he goes to a rival, but more importantly because the 28 year old is just taking shape as a solid LB and can also play CB, some welcome versatility for AC Milan. The price was said to be around 5-8M and depending on how the market pans out Galliani may still have a say in this deal yet. Only time will tell on this as we near the Jan 1 winter silly season kick off.

-Montolivo has come out and stated his willingness and ability to play a deep play making role. I am not so keen on this statement for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost, Milan are not really equipped to support a deep lying player maker. The first reason being giving Monty touches deeper on the pitch may limit touches for El Sharaawy in wide areas. Second, a deep lying play makers requires support alongside him to play easy passes and help on the defensive side of the ball, which limits the sort of box to box runs Milan have been very good at the past two seasons with Nocerino, Urby, and Boateng. If Monty wants to play and flourish in that role, it may not be here at Milan because even if formation goes to a 4-2-3-1 he may still be a liability in front of the defense. It remains to be seen what will happen in the New Year, but if Ilicic brought in you can almost see the value of a 4-3-1-2 with the only holding Monty is doing is his boots, on the bench. Harsh yes, but when the team is finding it's way and building, I question the need for statements like this one.

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