El Shaarawy closing in on welcomed Milan return
With his contribution limited to just four league games this season after a frustrating spell on the sidelines due to injury, Stephan El Shaarawy continues in his recovery and is closing in on a return to first team action in the coming weeks.
The 21-year-old has returned to training with his team-mates after featuring for the youth team, and after enjoying a goal-scoring return to action, it will undoubtedly boost his confidence as he continues to set himself targets for the remainder of the season.
Milan legend Franco Baresi offered his support on Twitter last week which gives an indication of how highly regarded the Italian international is within the club, while Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has clearly not forgotten him having included him in his 42-man squad to undergo physical performance tests earlier this month.
As a result, El Shaarawy has not yet given up hope of a place in the World Cup squad, and although his more immediate objective is to help guide Milan towards qualification for the Europa League, he admits that being involved in the national set up is another confidence booster.
- Report: El Shaarawy hopeful over World Cup
Inevitably, transfer speculation continues to hound him but given the countless dismissals from both the player and club in recent months, it is unlikely that the Rossoneri will consider selling any of their most prized assets, provided that they are secure financially.
Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio addressed transfer rumours linking him with Real Madrid on Tuesday, and while he perhaps left the door slightly ajar, the general feeling was that he is more concerned with being a part of building a competitive Milan.
There is no doubt that having a talented core of youth players will help manager Clarence Seedorf in rebuilding the squad and shaping the project with his own philosophies. The Dutchman has previously spoken of his desire for a more progressive approach, and El Shaarawy will offer a great deal in that progression.
Naturally, his return will also increase competition for places, but after assessing his options, Seedorf should be in no doubt as to what his ideal trident behind Mario Balotelli should be and El Shaarawy should form an integral part of it.
Casting minds back to last season, there were suggestions that El Shaarawy and Balotelli were not compatible after struggling at times when paired together. However, in the 4-2-3-1 system that Seedorf has chosen to adopt in order to evolve the squad and change its mentality, it could arguably be the ideal switch for El Shaarawy.
Adel Taarabt has, in my opinion, earned himself a permanent move to the club this summer with his performances since arriving in January, and the threat of having the Moroccan and El Shaarawy attacking on the flanks should ensure Milan are a dangerous outfit in the attacking phase.
In addition, both have proven that they are willing to do the defensive work when required, and with Kaka shifting across into a more central role, it promises to be an intriguing situation for Seedorf moving forward.
Ultimately, it will be a welcome boost to merely have El Shaarawy available for selection again, and it is hoped that he will flourish under Seedorf in the time he has left this season before becoming a fundamental part of the club again next year.
Excited by the prospect of El Shaarawy returning? What is your ideal trident behind Balotelli?
For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow Sumeet on Twitter @italiafooty