Transfer Talk: AC Milan summer so far
With the transfer window in full swing, ESPNFC's AC Milan blogger Sumeet Paul discusses how Filippo Inzaghi's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
IN -- Alex (PSG, Free), Jeremy Menez (PSG, Free), Adil Rami (Valencia, 4.25 million pounds), Michael Agazzi (Cagliari, Free), Michelangelo Albertazzi (Return from loan), Didac Vila (Return from loan), M'Baye Niang (Return from loan).
OUT -- Kaka (Sao Paulo, Free), Valter Birsa (Chievo, Loan), Alessandro Matri (Genoa, Loan), Urby Emanuelson (Roma, Free), Antonio Nocerino (Torino, Loan), Andrea Petagna (Latina, Loan), Marco Amelia (Released), Adel Taarabt (QPR), Matias Silvestre (Inter Milan).
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENTS
PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal | Aston Villa | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Hull City | Leicester City | Liverpool | Man City | Man Utd | Newcastle | QPR | Southampton | Stoke | Sunderland | Swansea | Tottenham | West Brom | West Ham
Expected budget and where will it come from?
Milan supporters have grown accustomed to the financial restrictions that the club has been forced to work within over the past few years, and this summer promises to be no different.
The potential sale of Mario Balotelli may have possibly led to significant funds being made available, but interest in the Italian international has cooled, and ultimately, Adriano Galliani will likely continue to search for low-cost deals.
Rating the summer transfer business out of 10 so far:
7/10. While it is still relatively early in the transfer window, Milan's business thus far has been impressive to an extent. Agazzi merely replaces Amelia as a back-up goalkeeper, but it was imperative after a strong season last year that the club signed Rami on a permanent basis.
Signing both Alex and Menez on free transfers will likely prove to be good moves, particularly with the Brazilian who will hopefully bring some much needed calmness and solidity to the defensive line.
Meanwhile, Menez has shown glimpses of his talent at both Roma and PSG previously, and it is hoped that he can now add consistency to his game at San Siro.
In contrast, the departure of Kaka will open up space for younger players to develop despite the disappointment of seeing the legend leave for a second time, while sending the likes of Birsa, Matri and Nocerino out on loan is all that could be done as Milan essentially await opportunities to sell them.
Who should be sold?
Until the day arrives that he is finally sold, Robinho will continue to top this list. The Brazilian is undoubtedly past his best, and his salary desperately needs removing from the club's accounts.
While Pippo Inzaghi has done a commendable job thus far in cutting fringe players from his squad, there are several other individuals at risk, namely Kevin Constant and Michael Essien.
However, there is also a risk that the squad will lack depth despite the focus purely being on Serie A in the upcoming campaign, and so they may well remain unless alternatives are acquired.
Nevertheless, it is reassuring to know that Inzaghi has identified which players are rightly surplus to requirements moving forward, and by shedding their contracts regardless of any transfer fee being involved, it will free up funds to reinvestment in signing younger players who offer more than just a short-term solution.
Who are Milan's targets?
Zenit defender Domenico Criscito appears to have emerged as the club's top target this summer, with his arrival likely to not only let Mattia De Sciglio return to the right flank, but also to allow the sale of Ignazio Abate.
Criscito was unfortunate to miss out on Cesare Prandelli's World Cup squad, but the 27-year-old would be another boost for the defence should he arrive as the back-line would look much stronger in each position compared to last year.
Verona starlet Juan Iturbe appears to be Roma-bound while Alessio Cerci would be a mistake given the fee involved.
As a result, Milan supporters may face a lengthy wait before any realistic targets emerge with the club having a recent history of leaving it late to make opportunistic signings, and Galliani has promised that there will be at least one more new arrival before the deadline.
What's the main problem area and who is the man to sort it?
It is difficult to assess what Milan's main problem area is at this stage, as much will depend on whether or not players step up and perform consistently this season.
Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy must deliver the goals, and either Bryan Cristante or Riccardo Saponara will have to deputise for Riccardo Montolivo while the captain is injured.
Should Criscito arrive, then he will address the final missing piece in the back-line at left-back, but ultimately a creative force in midfield is still perhaps absent from this current squad and an individual who is capable of breaking from deep and supporting the strikers.
The likes of Essien, Nigel De Jong and Sulley Muntari offer much of the same in terms of protection for the defence, and there is lack of dynamic midfielders in the squad playing in their natural positions.
PSG's Lucas Moura is the latest name to be linked with a switch to Milan, and he would arguably fit the bill perfectly.