The official opening of the transfer window, a New Year, and a game in just a few days makes this a great time for some musings:
-Today the signing of Cassano was made official; he had joined the team before the New Year but yesterday put pen to paper on the opening day of the transfer window. His contract will be four years and it is noted that he helped pay a portion of the $5M sell off fee to Real Madrid. It is funny to think that Sunday he put on the Milan kit without a contract in place. While his performance was nothing to hang your hat on, I was surprised he played at all and how much he contributed. Allegri was also pleased, but it is unlikely he will play Thursday, unless…
-Robinho’s freak knee injury from falling on a camera yesterday is more serious than first thought. He did train with the team today and Milan’s medical staff confirmed them to just be bruises but ran tests for precautions. As long as there is no deep bruising or inflammation Robinho should start alongside Pato against Cagliari. Which is looking increasingly likely.
-Lots of talk today regarding Milan in the transfer window, having already added Cassano, conventional wisdom says Berlu and Fester will close the check book. It doesn’t really address the fact that Milan needs defensive cover and an actual LB. It is never the cheapest option to buy in the January window, but laying some ground work for a summer move is never a bad idea as was done with both Flamini and Silva. Criscito is certainly an intriguing option and would give us cover for a few years to come, but rumor has it he will most likely come to Milan in the summer, but maybe a loan to buy is not a bad idea to add a player with Serie A experience and youthful exuberance to help in a title run.
-It appears that the Ronaldinho saga is drawing to a close, I won’t say much here and now, as the general consensus has been good riddance for quite a while now. By week’s end we should have an idea of where Ronaldinho will be "standing" for the remainder of the season; his options are statically high up on the left at Gremio, Flamengo, Palmieras or Blackburn. Yes, you read that right, Blackburn, but that bid was basically laughed off when the Owner of Blackburn uttered simply that there was, “No interest at all.” No kidding! Looks like Brazil is the next step, hopefully whatever Club wins(?) the Ronaldinho lottery has some money to send our way.
-Thursday’s match against Cagliari will have Milan without the services of Zlatan who is serving a yellow card suspension. They will also be without Pirlo and Flamini in the midfield due to injury and possibly Prince as well who returned to Italy to have a possible sports hernia checked. This will force Allegri into a makeshift lineup that will possibly include young starters such as Merkel or Strasser, and Beretta on the bench. Beretta did well to score in the recent friendly and may be our only striker cover for Robinho and Pato. I would expect Allegri to try and keep things as close to the status quo as possible in the 4-3-1-2 with Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Bonera, Antonini; Rino, Ambro, Strasser; Seedorf; Robinho, Pato.
Looking forward to getting the second half of the season off to a good start!