While watching the Red Bulls absolutely suck I got to thinking about Milan’s defensive issues. My father, who is an avid Milanista and reader of my blog, and I engaged in a heated discussion that began with Milan’s unwillingness to cut players loose to make room for more. Cafu and Serginho are prime examples of players who can be thanked for service but nicely shown the door. These players are part of a defensive back line that is ageing gracefully in the case of the captain, but not so gracefully otherwise. It does not take a genius to realize that Milan is dependant on their wingbacks as attackers, which involves tireless running, and being young is a huge plus.
As the back four stands now the squad could line up Oddo, Nesta/Bonera, Maldini/ Kaladze, Jankulovski. On paper it is great line but if you investigate further you realize that Marek is the youngest of the starters at 30!! To make matters worse he is technically a midfielder!! The youngster on the line is Bonera, and from what I have seen so far even the patient teaching of Maldini may not be able to help some of his gaffs. Oddo was a huge transfer last year and a key part of the squad, but even he needs the occasional rest at 31.
What is the squad to do? First of all Grimi, the self proclaimed heir to Maldini’s thrown, can stay wherever he was loaned out, I have a horrible unbridled and unwarranted hate for that kid and I need to find out where it came from. In terms of Italian talent, people always talk about Lyon’s new man Grosso, or Barca’s Zambrotta, who makes a very possible and attractive transfer for the left flank, if he decides to leave Spain. Then there is talk about Barzagli, or even Zaccardo, who I group into the same pile of mediocrity as Bonera. Those three guys are absolutely interchangeable in my eyes.
Even the foreign talent pool is thin when it comes to the wingback position. I worry sometimes that the glorious attacking style of Maldini may not be as prominent as I imagine it to be. Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid can play the style, but he is more like a Carvalho or Paolo Ferreira type player who can attack but would prefer not to. This lack of talent at the spot is why midfielders like Jankulovski are slotting in the back. I am surprised Carletto has not thrown Ambrosini back there and hoped for the best.
I can not deny that Milan needs a striker, but I am really starting to get worried that a defender needs to be in the cards more than anything else. When Maldini retires I will cry like a baby, in fact just thinking about it made my stomach turn, but that line needs reinforcements bad before that sad, sad, sad day.