First things first, if Milan does in fact find a way to pry Alessio Cerci from Torino the go forward formation must be a 4-3-3. Now with that said, can Cerci really be the difference maker this team needs or does his skill set hinder the likes of Balotelli and El Sharaawy?
The Balotelli-El Sharaawy conundrum is an interesting one that will present itself again this season. 12 goals for SES prior to the arrival of Mario Balotelli and zero after two seasons ago was a worrying development. At times it appeared SES was regressing and make bad choices, while others it looked like Balotelli was simply robbing his teammate of space. Max Allegri found ways around this by asking Balotelli to drop deeper creating channels for El Sharaawy but the youngster was not adept at finding the space as he continued to develop as a player. Now throw in a player the likes of Cerci, a classic winger who likes to play outside and inside and it brings a new dynamic to the tactics of AC Milan. With him you open an additional channel in the attack, the right fullback can use the outer most while the winger can come inside and the midfielder can break through a space created between the opposing left fullback and left center back. In theory it is a heaven, in practice it can struggle.
Cerci is a good player, a solid player. No nonsense, hard worker and while he doesn't love defending he can track and fill space to stop a counter attack. The other issue at hand; however, is that if he is going to cross the ball, something Milan doesn't really need to as they lack a classic target man will anyone be home. This team may be better suited for triangular short short long runs in and around the 18 in lieu of crossing. I find it funny how many people wonder why team's don't cross when the reality is that cross to no one, no matter how pretty or how well located it is simply useless. They key to a player like Cerci is to put pressure on the space between the fullback and center back and if SES can do the same on the opposite side Balotelli and the midfielders making the darting runs will flourish.
Is he a necessity with the current state of the team? No, he is not. Is he an upgrade from Menez and provides depth in a week front three, YES 100%. In fact if Milan is going to move forward with the 4-3-3 then Cerci is almost a must buy. While some have stated Niang can play right wing, these are the same people who demanded Allegri play him central, I for one prefer he plays in another City for another team, but that is a different conversation for a different day. For now I expect Uncle Fester is counting his pennies as he tries to scrape the funds together for this move.