They key to success in the long run for any team is the youth academy. Teams like Barcelona, Schalke, Southampton, Ajax all have youth academies that are world known. As is Milan's youth system.
In part one, we looked at players just on the precipice of the senior squad. So far this season, we have seen Patrick Cutrone and Manuel Locatelli playing pivotal roles on the senior squad. In part two, we will delve deeper into the Milan youth system and see who else to look out for.
Next up on our list, Luca Vido. Luca Vido is a name that has long been on Rossoneri radars. In the 2015-16 season with the Primavera, Vido scored seven goals in fourteen appearances for the Rossoneri youth squad. A forward who, as was told to Calciomercato, models himself after Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The player is intelligent, reads the game quite well, and has a spark of creativity to get himself free in the box for a shot on goal.
Last season he made his professional debut on loan to Cittadella. His performances helped Cittadella achieve 6th place in Serie B. His four goals in two games last May, allowed Cittadella qualification into Serie B playoffs. This past summer, Vido, played in the under-20 World Cup and helped Italy to a 3rd place finish. Their best finish in the tournament. Things were looking bright for the Italian heading into the 2017-18 season with Milan. However, with Milan trying to pry Andrea Conti from Atalanta, Luca Vido was used as bait to complete the signing. Conti made his way to Milan as their new right back and in exchange, Vido would ply his trade in Bergamo. As much as losing a talent like Luca Vido hurts, ultimately, playing for a manager like Gian Piero Gasperini will do wonders for his career.
Born in Conversano, Italy, Ivan De Santis is a central defender who has been a staple for the Italian National youth teams. At just 20 years old, standing at 6ft2in. De Santis is a defender with a nose for goal. He has scored six goals for Italy during his time on the youth teams, and last season, while on loan to Paganese, scored a lovely goal against Cosenza. Seen by many as the new Alessandro Nesta or Thiago Silva, or at the least, new Alessio Romagnoli. Vincenzo Montella was asked about the youngster and responded, ”Is he strong? It does seem so. He defends big and above all, knows how to score in the opposition box.”
This season, De Santis will be on loan to Ascoli. The club he is joining is not a new one to Milan. Just last season, another Milan starlet, Gian Filippo Felicioli was on loan there. At Ascoli, De Santis will get ample playing time and a chance to ease into the professional life. Milan will be in no rush to bring on De Santis prematurely with the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli in the ranks. But the defense looks bright for the Rossoneri.
As previously mentioned, Gian Filippo Felicioli spent last season on loan at Ascoli. Felicioli made appearances for Ascoli last term, however, did not register a goal. That does not take away the immense talent the kid possesses. He is your typical left winger. Providing an option from the defense, while opening up the field on the flanks for his teammates to manuever. He is quick thinking and has the knack for setting up the players around him for a goal. He set up Patrick Cutrone many a times for the Primavera squad. He takes good free kicks, and has decent down field vision, which is important for a left winger who likes to bring the ball up the pitch.
His talent has caused others to sit up and take notice. This season Hellas Verona has picked up Felicioli on loan with an option to buy contract. He will be playing in Serie A, trying to help a newly promoted squad remain there. How much playing time he will get at Verona is still to be determined. However, if a he makes his appearances count, we may be waving goodbye to the talented left winger.
In part three, we will take a look at Davide Pacifico, Davide Di Molfetta and Krisztian Tamas, so keep an eye out!