In offering Antonio Cassano a way out of Sampdoria, Milan have potentially pulled off one of the signings of the season. Fantantonio is a ludicrously talented footballer capable of winning games almost single-handed and was much coveted when his availability became apparent. However, Serie A’s current leaders already boast a strong attack and questions have been raised as to exactly how necessary a signing Cassano was and where he will play.
Under Massimiliano Allegri, Milan have tended to use a three man strike force with Zlatan Ibrahimovic supported by two out of Robinho, Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato. Milan have only been outscored in the league by Juventus with Ibrahimovic netting nine times and Pato and Robinho contributing six goals each. The acquisition of Cassano would be completely understandable if Milan’s attackers were underperforming, but they quite clearly are not.
The idea that Cassano has been signed to add depth to the Milan front line is also a questionable one. While Pippo Inzaghi suffered a season ending injury early in the campaign, squad depth is certainly not lacking in the attacking area. Along with Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho and Ronaldinho, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Clarence Seedorf are both able to play further forward than midfield. Were Allegri to be looking to add depth, back up for the first choice central defensive pairing of Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva is a much more pressing requirement.
One possible explanation could be the rumours of a January exit for Ronaldinho following his fall down the pecking order at the San Siro. A number of clubs have expressed their interest in the Brazilian including his first club, Gremio, and should a move materialise, his creativity and skill would be exceptionally difficult to replace. Fantantonio is one of very few players in Serie A and even the world who can match Ronaldinho in terms of the flair and creativity he brings to a team.
Interestingly, it has been rumoured that Cassano is severely lacking in match fitness and will not be fully ready for first team action for at least a month. Should Ronaldinho remain with the club in January, it seems increasingly likely that the respite will only be temporary and he will return to his native Brazil in the summer. Should this be the case, Cassano could well be seen as a longer-term replacement for the Brazilian and will see more once he has a full pre season under his belt and is fully match fit.
Where, when and how Cassano is utilized by Milan remains to be seen, but what is certain is that his signing has made them stronger. Whether or not he is fully match fit, Fantantonio is one of the most talented and creative players in Serie A. Add his abilities to those boasted by the likes of Ibrahimovic and Pato and the league leaders become and even more fearsome prospect than before.