Going to spend the next five days previewing the season, lots to talk about and while I sprinkle news in here or there depending on the silly season happenings and musings, the tentative Agenda is as follows:
Part V: Expectations
What does everyone want me to say here? That I am thrilled at the prospect of turning the reins over to Alexandre Pato as the leading striker? That I am ecstatic that a player who made zero contribution last season is now handed the keys to the castle? A player whose choice to stay at Milan was made for his proximities off the pitch over his desire on it? I am not going to lie to you, and more importantly I am not going to lie myself, but while I type this it doesn't appear we have much of a choice. If somehow you are still living in some alternative universe and you can't seem to figure out or understand why Milan is looking at strikers like Borriello, Bendtner, or FabQuags, it has everything to do with Ducky, and that says it all for me.
On the flip-side the outlook for the second striker is not as gloomy. I said my piece on Cassano, but that still leaves us with Robinho and El Sharaawy and while I would have almost no issue playing them both together, tactically it leaves a bit to be desired and far to easy for opposing CB's from a perspective of physical challenge. As said in my Borriello piece on Sunday, Milan don't need another technical striker, they need a pack mule, someone to make the runs and drag defenders to create space for the two support strikers and open lanes for the midfielders. It is safe to say the loss of Zlatan will dramatically change the attacking phases of play, but it doesn't necessarily have to be for the worse, more movement, more dynamics and more options.
The one weird feeling I can't shake is why not bring Paloschi home? Why not try and promote from within with players like Beretta and Zigoni, who may not be the best, but can certainly been given a chance to sink or swim. I am not one for youth in Italy, the Italian game is fickle as are the tifosi and confidence is thin. But in the attack, it is seemingly the one place where youth can come in and make a difference and even flourish. Maybe they are not good enough, maybe they don't get it, whatever it is, it is clearly a problem that this Club can't seem to get over with no sign of change on the horizon.
So I wrote this piece on Monday evening, while I was awaiting Cassano's imminent transfer, so I figured I would amend this a bit to include Pazzini. Don't get me wrong, I like Pazzo, I like the chip on his shoulder and the new desire to prove Inter wrong. Historically Milan have gotten the better of these sorts of deals, but no time for history on this one. Cassano wholeheartedly let me down, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised, what I am more surprised is Fester's unwillingess to play hardball with Inter, somewhere deep down I thought the announcement would include Wesley Sneijder and that would have been a coup. It didn't happen, so no sense in worrying about it, just going to welcome Pazzo as our new starting striker and hoping he and Robinho/El Shaarawy can strike up a partnership to help lead the line for AC Milan.