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Dec 2, 2012

Contract conundrum awaits Milan

In what has seemingly become an annual event at Milan, next summer presents yet another crossroad as the fate of several squad members will be decided. Having parted company with club legends of the ilk of Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf to name but a few last summer, the Rossoneri face a less dramatic yet similar contract situation in just over six months. Who stays and who goes . . . . you decide.

Not content with waiting until the season ends, speculation in the media is rife as to who will be retained and dispensed by Milan in June. With contracts expiring, loan deals reaching a conclusion and expendable stars set for the exit door, Milan vice president Adriano Galliani made clear last week the squad must be reduced before the club can acquire new players.

Starting from the back, goalkeeping stalwart Christian Abbiati is entering the final six months of his current deal, and there is no indication the 35 year-old is set for renegotiations. Prone to mistakes and injuries, yet equally capable of inspirational decisive stops, it would appear Abbiati is the first of many set to depart, with Marco Amelia and young Brazilian shot-stopper Gabriel waiting in the wings.

Moving swiftly to the back line, aside from the Colombian duo of Cristian Zapata and Mario Yepes, there is also a contract renewal required for every Rossonero’s favourite defender, Daniele Bonera. While it remains to be seen if make Zapata’s loan deal a permanent move, early intimations suggest that Yepes will be searching for a new club come June, while Bonera will nonsensically remain.

In midfield, Massimo Ambrosini, club captain and one of the last remaining ‘senators’ in the squad, similarly faces an uncertain future. Ridiculed by many as age continues to catch up with him, both his leadership and presence are perhaps taken for granted, and a new one-year deal with a reduced salary and inevitably reduced playing time makes sense in my mind.

In contrast, the same can’t be said for Mathieu Flamini, with the Frenchman surely facing the axe next summer. The 28 year-old has failed to deliver on a consistent basis since his arrival from Arsenal, with injury stunting his influence on the side, it would come as no surprise should he be booking an outbound ticket from Malpensa Airport in the summer.

Elsewhere, loan stars Kevin Constant and Bojan will also require a decision, with both perhaps earning new deals. Constant has been a revelation since Massimiliano Allegri switched him to left-back, making the position his own with several impressive displays. Meanwhile, Spaniard Bojan Krkic has also impressed many since his arrival from Roma, but with rumours touting a possible move for Mario Balotelli, will he have done enough by the end of the season to extend his stay?

In addition to contract renewals, there are several members of the current Milan squad requiring thought as to whether their futures lie at San Siro. Djamel Mesbah, Didac Vila and Luca Antonini make up a ridiculous conveyor belt of left-backs, while Rodney Strasser, Bakaye Traore, Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Giampaolo Pazzini also face questions.

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi suggested it would be two to three years before Milan re-emerged as a force. With the rebuilding programme already underway, next summer will again require several fundamental decisions to be made.

In your opinion, who should stay and who should go?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty