Club Focus – Milan – In search of strikers and defenders

The Rossoneri’s poor start to the season finally seems to have caught the attention of the club’s management and has instigated links to a plethora of players, in particular in defense and attack. Il Diavolo continues to be linked with Brazilian defender Rafinha, who plies his trade in Germany, as well as Dutch left-wingback Royston Drenthe who currently plays for Real Madrid.

The latest name linked with the Rossoneri is that of Barcelona’s Carles Puyol. The Catalan club’s captain would offer solid defensive know-how, vast experience as well as good reading of the game. Puyol is quite the diverse player having come through the youth ranks playing in a number of positions before settling as a central defender. The Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of the season and he has yet to sign an extension, meaning he can be signed for a reasonably low price if he does not accept Barcelona’s terms. Milan does not really have solid cover for Alessandro Nesta and Brazilian Thiago Silva, with veteran Giuseppe Favalli sparingly used as a backup and Georgian Kakha Kaladze yet to discover top form. American free-signing Oguchi Onyewu has barely featured, playing some 30 minutes in the Champions League match against Swiss side Zürich, and he does not seem to be able to break in to the squad. The Rossoneri will be looking for reinforcements in both central defense and the full-backs positions.

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In the forward line, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has failed to impress and as has been mentioned in previous editions, he seems incompatible with fellow striker Alexandre Pato whilst also looking out of sorts in Coach Leonardo’s tactical and strategic planning. Il Diavolo is rumoured to have offered Huntelaar as bait in order to lure Russian Roman Pavlyuchenko away from English club Tottenham Hotspur. The Dutch international has yet to open his scoring account for the club and he seems increasingly frustrated with the Rossoneri system. The club has erred by swooping for the Dutchman instead of moving for the safer option which was being discussed in the media, Brazilian Luís Fabiano, who is scoring goals in La Liga. In another sign that Milan is not convinced by Huntelaar’s abilities, reports have already mentioned former Fiorentina striker Luca Toni as a possible target for the January transfer window. The World Cup Winner has been sidelined and is out favour at Bayern Munich. Toni is desperate for regular football in order to fight for a spot in la Nazionale’s squad headed to South Africa next summer. Azzurri Coach Marcello Lippi has made it clear that Toni must play regularly or else he will not be picked to represent Italy. The Rossoneri might face stiff competition from other clubs, including Napoli, for the signing of the burly striker. Il Corriere dello Sport has quoted €6m as the asking price for the giant forward.

In the latest twist of events, the imminent move of England’s David Beckham has now been thrown in to doubt following some complications associated with the LA Galaxy player’s hefty salary. Il Diavolo’s management seems unwilling to match the England midfielder’s high wages, while Beckham might be less inclined to sign with Milan this season since last year he personally funded his loan move to Italy. This season the Englishman has attracted the attention of a number of European clubs so he might be reluctant to accept Milan’s offer. Yet, playing with a competitive team might also be a distant memory for Beckham if the San Siro outfit continues to struggle both in the domestic league and on the European front. The midfield area might not be the most pressing concern for Brazilian Leonardo with Massimo Ambrosini, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini all vying for a starting role in the Rossoneri’s midfield. The club’s attack now seems to be one of the team’s weakest departments.

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Speaking of il Diavolo’s attackers, former Coach Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on young striker Alexandre Pato and hailed him as one of the best. Ancelotti cautioned against expecting too much from the Brazilian attacker since he can sometimes have sub-standard games on the pitch. Pato has not scored since his brace in the win against Siena. The main issue might be that Pato is lacking support with Huntelaar yet to mesh with his teammates while Marco Borriello has been out injured and Filippo Inzaghi is at his best when properly used. Ancelotti did conclude with a rather accurate statement which is that Milan probably miss Brazilian star Kaká the most. The results have clearly been inconsistent and unacceptable since his sale.

Milan Club Focus 2009/10

Pre-season


Pre-season expectation
– August 18, 2009

Week 1


Leonardo breathes as Brazilians relieve pressure
– August 25, 2009

Week 2


Kaka returns to the San Siro
– August 27, 2009


How to play 4-3-1-2, a lesson from their rivals
– September 1, 2009


Reshuffle the current squad, regain the winning mentality
– September 4, 2009

International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)


Leonardo’s time to react
– September 7, 2009

Week 3


Livorno springs opportunity to end crisis
– September 11, 2009


Serie A slides down priority list
– September 15, 2009


Leonardo lurches into decision-making territory
– September 18, 2009

Week 4


Off the pitch rumours continue to swirl
– September 22, 2009

Week 5


Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps?
– September 25, 2009

Week 6


A powerhouse that no longer strikes fear
– September 29, 2009

Week 7


Time is running out to save il Diavolo’s season
– October 2, 2009


A draw as bitter as a defeat
– October 6, 2009


The club is not for sale
– October 9, 2009

International week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)


In search of strikers and defenders
– October 13, 2009

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