Turbulent summer awaits Milan
In a World Cup summer, it is often best practise to make sure transfer strategies are well planned prior to the tournament starting. That will prove difficult for AC Milan to accomplish. Not only have they yet to make a decision on their coach for next season, but they could well be preparing for the exit of several key players.
Ultimately, the first crucial decision will be deciding whether Clarence Seedorf should continue or if Pippo Inzaghi will be confirmed as his replacement. By appointing a new manager, a new strategy will invariably be agreed upon and respective transfer targets will then be identified.
As Inzaghi, Milan vice president Adriano Galliani and owner Silvio Berlusconi have held meetings on more than one occasion, it is expected that those discussions have already taken place, but the wait to officially announce the change is helping none of the parties concerned.
In that time, reports have emerged that the futures of a number of key players in the squad will be considered. Column inches have been filled linking Kaka, Keisuke Honda, Robinho, Michael Essien and Philippe Mexes with moves to various clubs around Europe. Coupled with the out-of-contract players as well as ongoing negotiations over permanent deals for both Adil Rami and Adel Taarabt, there is much yet to be decided in Milan this summer.
However, perhaps the most concerning reports relate to Mario Balotelli. Several English publications have claimed that he will be available this summer as Milan would be interested in listening to offers should a strong showing at the World Cup increase his value. Raising such funds should be considered, but with the likes of Kaka, Robinho and Mexes all seemingly expendable, isn't Balotelli worth holding on to and building around?
After Stephan El Shaarawy's return from injury last season, the pair showed glimpses of their capabilities, proving the Italian duo could be an effective attacking threat to rely upon for years to come. Admittedly, that has been said for some time, but through a combination of lack of form and injuries, their partnership has yet to be given a consistent opportunity to take off.
Super Mario will always have his detractors, and his perceived lack of team spirit will supply ammunition to those that support his sale if it will give the club funds to build a better all-round team.
Much will depend on how he performs in Brazil, but by working with Cesare Prandelli, it will come as no surprise if Balotelli establishes himself as one of the stars of the tournament.
Follow Sumeet Paul on Twitter @italiafooty