It’s hard to say if there’s any team more on the come up than AC Milan right now. While that last sentence might contain just a hint of bias, no European side in the top 5 leagues has made more summer signings or been as busy as the Rossoneri this window. The biggest difference that separates Milan from other clubs trying to re-grasp their quality (Man U, Liverpool, etc.) is that not only are they signing good players with room to develop, but also they’re filling needs.
Take Manchester United for example. They constantly go out, sign big name players, and don’t fill needs. You have a young, exciting striker in Rashford and even Martial can slot in the forward role as well, so where was the need for Ibra? You had an exciting young winger in Depay, but playing him out of position and then expecting the world from him isn’t exactly a roadmap to success, so instead he was sold off and replaced with Mkhitaryan, who granted has played well under Mourinho (when given the chance). They have players in and out every window, with some only getting one chance and then shown the door, some not at all (Schneiderlin). They’ve had a different starting forward every year since Wayne Rooney’s last year as a true center forward in 2013. Maybe that will change with Rashford’s potential as a household name, but even then they’re linked with Belotti and Morata and who knows where they’ll be if they have a poor first year. There’s no stability, and the high turnover rate probably sticks in the players’ heads throughout the season. This is what was happening with Milan minus the quality signings. A high turnover rate managerially and poor performances were killing their fan base as well as their profitability. Milan have already shown their intent to change this by signing Montella to an extension, making him their first manager who will serve his second campaign in charge in the last five years. In addition, with the new ownership, Milan are able to go out and provide their manager with the players he needs to restore the glory.
Milan went out and found a young player who can fit Montella’s playstyle at striker with Andre Silva, a 21-year-old enigmatic finisher who never gives up on the ball. Milan’s CEO’s are working wonders, even killing two birds with one stone by going out and getting two new defenders, and are working on a third in order to entice their young phenom between the sticks to stay (which Donnarumma has officially announced he will be) and to patch their leaky defense. In a midfield that’s been a barren wasteland for opposing sides to run through freely since Pirlo left for Juve, the Rossoneri went out and signed the young, dynamic Franck Kessie from Atalanta and are said to be close to wrapping up a deal for Lazio star and captain Lucas Biglia. Milan are buying players who fit a certain criteria that management has laid out. They desperately needed a box-to-box midfielder, which they get in Kessie. They desperately needed defenders to alleviate the pressure from Donnarumma, which they’ve gone out and signed. They need a front man who can put the ball away clinically and work hard for the full 90, and that could very well be Andre Silva.
You look at Napoli, Roma, and Lazio as the sides who are in the position every year to knock Juventus from their throne, and every year that turns out to be a farce. From a front office position as well as their lineups, these sides are definitely better set up than Milan as they have been earning and churning for the last few years with positive results domestically, and have chemistry to match. This is where Mirabelli and Fassone can work true magic. Fassone is the former CEO of Juventus and Napoli and GM of Inter, which shows his experience and capability at the position. He is a well-respect man across Italy, both in and out of the futbol world, having served in companies such as Ferrari and Galbani. Mirabelli served an excellent stint as a manager with non-professional sides (showing his knowledge of the game) and served as chief scout for Inter. Mirabelli knows a quality player when he sees one, and after listening to the type of player Montella wants, he has not only the idea of what he’s looking for from a scouting standpoint, but his management background allows him to get his take on who he thinks would be the best fit. The names he suggested in his short time with Inter: Murillo, Perisic, Gabigol, and Brozovic, and these are just the players that management actually listened to and signed. The names they didn’t listen to? Aubameyang, Gabriel Jesus, and Bruma, all players enjoying success right now at other clubs. Mirabelli’s forte is spotting young talent, and he’s done so thus far with Kessie and Silva, and he’s continually searching with Tolisso, Keita Balde, and Emil Forsberg as of recent. He’s also found what he feels to be the experience Milan needs looking at players such as Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, and potentially Lucas Biglia.
Taking everything into account and with the confidence Milan having moving forward, I just don’t feel that anyone but Milan will dethrone Juventus. Sure it might take a few years, but Milan have given Juventus enough when they play them head to head, with no result exceeding a one goal deficit since 2015. Imagine what Milan can do when they’re getting results from the sides they should be beating. The prediction is as follows: Juventus wins the Serie A next year in 2017/201 and Milan earn a Champions League slot, but come 2018/2019 we expect AC Milan to be the ones to finally end the Old Lady’s reign.