When one mentions the name AC Milan, it stands for a winning attitude, passion,
flagbearers of Italian football. A club which was associated with quality and hosting players such as
Maldini, Nesta, Costacurta, Pirlo, Shevchenko, Rui Costa, Ronaldinho, and Ibrahimovic was now
relying on players who were well past their prime and wanted to earn one last paycheck before
calling it quits.
However, over the last few seasons, the 7-time European champions have been reduced to a club
that was hungover on its past glories and were stuck in a rut of mediocrity. They struggled to qualify
for any form of European competition since 2014 and a host of changes in the dugout and in the
boardroom did not help.
However, now over the last 2 seasons there has been a semblance of a plan in place to put the club
back on the road to recovery. With fiery young manager Vicenzo Montella in the dugout, Milan
showed signs of playing with a vigour and intent last season whilst maintaining a strong Italian core
to the squad. With the takeover by new Chinese owners and an influx of funds into the squad, the
Rossoneri were early movers in the transfer market snapping up Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti,
Matteo Mussachio, Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu and marauding left back Ricardo Rodriguez. This
was in addition to resolving the controversy surrounding Milan goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma who
refused to sign a new contract. The young custodian who is represented by super agent Mino Raoila,
the man who orchestrated the Paul Pogba deal to Manchester United, was accused of being greedy
and biting the hand that fed him. However, Milan ensured that they retained the services of their
prodigy and now have a keeper who is aligned with the Milan way.
But the deal that brought the focus squarely back on Milan was the 40 million capture of Juventus
rock Leonardo Bonucci. The 30-year old who has been one of the lynchpins of the Juventus defence
for the last 7 seasons at Turin traded loyalties after the rumours of his disagreements with coach
Max Allegri reached a high point after the club’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League
final at Cardiff. The deal took place exactly at the time when Kyle Walker moved to Manchester from
Tottenham for around 50 million euros, so the temptation to compare the quality of the two
defenders and their transfer prices was unavoidable.
The early signs have been good for Milan in the pre-season games against Dortmund and Bayern
Munich. Montella will hope that this form improves as the season goes by and eventually see the
club return to its rightful place amongst the European elite.