Key players for Milan to lead Inzaghi era
Having gradually climbed the managerial ladder at Milan over the past two years, Filippo Inzaghi will begin preparations for his first season in charge of the senior squad in the coming months. While there is undoubtedly more business to be done in the transfer market, the 40-year-old also has the benefit of having knowledge of the club's most coveted talents in the youth sector.
While it is yet to be proven that he will base his strategy on promoting younger players he has previously worked with, it is hoped that the Rossoneri make full use of Inzaghi's familiarity with those youngsters and give them an opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level as part of a long-term plan to rebuild the club.
However, based on various decisions already taken this summer, it is evident that Inzaghi will look to maintain the experienced core of his squad and potentially add to it rather than rip everything up and start again.
Speculation continues to suggest further outgoings and incomings will occur over the course of the summer, but ultimately there are already a number of players that could emerge as key individuals in the former striker's first campaign in charge.
One aspect which has severely been lacking over the past two years at Milan is a solid base to work from, and Inzaghi will have to address the problem if he is to be successful both in the short and long term.
While Christian Abbiati has signed an extension and Michael Agazzi has arrived from Cagliari, Gabriel must surely now be given the opportunity to solidify his position as the club's No.1 goalkeeper. He is still young and inexperienced, but the Brazilian is talented and will likely only improve further with increased playing time, and his development must not be undermined by settling for a supposedly 'safer' option.
Mattia De Sciglio is an indispensable player and must begin to grow into a real leader of the team, and the arrival of Alex from PSG on a free transfer is great business with the 31-year-old adding steel and a reliability factor in the defensive line.
Further afield, captain Riccardo Montolivo will have to deal with additional responsibility when he returns from injury, while Nigel de Jong has proven to be a consistent performer that Milan can depend on no matter the situation.
In contrast, this season is now the time for both Andrea Poli and Bryan Cristante to take their game to another level, particularly the latter who will hopefully see Inzaghi place his faith in him to replace Montolivo's creativity and passing in midfield during his spell on the sidelines.
Milan's financial restrictions are a problem that must be accepted and their position in the transfer market isn't necessarily going to change any time soon unless they decide to sell a prized asset.
However, by pushing the Mario Balotelli partnership with Stephan El Shaarawy next season, they have genuine stars that can ease the pressure on Inzaghi if they are able to click, and with the focus purely on domestic matters in terms of Serie A and the Coppa Italia, this squad should be hungry to succeed in order to secure a return to European football.
How would your Milan line up next season? Which players would you consider fundamental?For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow Sumeet on Twitter @italiafooty