Last season: Milan 2010-11 season review
The Squad: Not much improvement has been made to the team which managed to secure its first Scudetto in seven years. The mandate for the inexperienced Coach Massimiliano Allegri was to reclaim domestic dominance, which he managed to do in some style. The next target for this side is to now pose a threat in the latter stages of the Champions League. Adriano Galliani has signalled his intent in refreshing the squad and introducing more youth in the ranks to replace the legendary figures such as Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta at the club. That level of turnover will take time and, in a period where Milan do not boast the capital like the nouveau riche clubs dotted across the continent, European success has to be the strategy to attract the most sought after talent across the globe. However, it is one of the veterans of the squad, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who remains the talisman for the Rossoneri, and if pre-season is anything to go by, and indeed the SuperCoppa in Beijing, he will look to continue adding more to his seven consecutive league titles.
The incoming transfer activities were concluded late last season with Phillippe Mexes and Taye Taiwo both formally completing their free transfers in June. 18 year old Stephan El Shaarawy has bolstered the attacking part of the side, coming in for €10m. Galliani’s Mr X is still lurching as he has flirted interest with Alberto Aquilani, Paulo Henrique Ganso and Riccardo Montolivo.
The decision to release Andrea Pirlo saddened many of the Milanisti but with the regista no longer in Allegri’s plans and commanding a high wage, there was only one conclusion. Marco Borriello remains in the capital after his loan spell with Roma whilst Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns to Genoa, who in turn have loaned him to German side Werder Bremen.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri – The Tuscan opted to play a 4-3-1-2 system with huge emphasis on the full backs to provide width and supply for Ibrahimovic and his striker partner, whether it was Filippo Inzaghi, Robinho or Alexandre Pato. The indications this season suggest the manager won’t change formation, more so the emphasis on play. Ignazio Abate and Taiwo will sing from the same hymn sheet with regards to attacking, thus the balance has to be correct in midfield to ensure the team is not exposed much on the counter. Allegri has shown in his tenure to have the courage to make big decisions for the better of the side, such as dropping Ronaldinho. Those man management decisions will be hugely required for a side which wants to challenge in Europe and remain fresh for their domestic defence of the title.
Player to look out for: Taye Taiwo – A combative, combustive full back who will provide good width and attacking power down Milan’s left side. He has the ability to be the best left back in the league should he curb his temperament.
Prediction: Champions League is a dead cert and if Ibra remains fit, as has been case during his time in Italy, his team will win the title.
Abate – Silva – Nesta – Taiwo
Ambrosini – Seedorf – Van Bommel
Ibrahimovic – Robinho