Milan's policy of youth against established talents
It is probably something that you never expect to read from a club who used to rely heavily on their veteran players...but of late, it is interesting to see the new approach from Milan.
Some question the reliance on youth squad against established talents as Milan has not been able to challenge at the top flight of football in Europe of late...will this lead to an even longer wait for success?
On the other hand, I think they are finally moving in the right direction....look at the purchase of Mario Balotelli....this is definitely a sign that the club is still challenging for good and top players but let's be realistic....instead of getting veteran players like Ibrahimovic, as wished by Balotelli, it's time to focus on the future (I even wrote about Balotelli's keen interest to reunite with Ibrahimovic in Milan)
Essentially, Milan have replaced the likes of Mario Yepes, Mathieu Flamini, Massimo Ambrosini and Bojan for Jherson Vergara, Andrea Poli, Bryan Cristante and Riccardo Saponara.
They are an exciting core that will look to become mainstays in the squad for years to come, with the added benefit of primarily being young Italians who will undoubtedly hope to become involved on the international stage through to the senior squad.
In addition, Milan’s “icon”, as Galliani recently described him, will lead them from the first game of the campaign as opposed to providing a boost in January, with Mario Balotelli looking to establish himself among the best in the world.
Given the club’s form in the second half of last season, it would suggest that little needs to be done in improving the current squad, with the youngsters providing the additional boost to ensure Milan remain competitive on all fronts.
As demonstrated through Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio last season, it can be a fruitful process, with the young duo set to continue their evolution into established first-team players who will hopefully continue to mature and improve.
Nevertheless, it is becoming slightly concerning given the activity around them that Milan may find the competition increasingly more difficult as the new season approaches.
Galliani spoke this week of Milan's achievement in consistently finishing in the top three in the league, and that again is a minimum objective in the new season along with a strong showing in Europe and a Coppa Italia success.
Having faced adversity and prevailed last season, the character of the squad would suggest that they are capable of continuing to improve and remaining competitive despite the moves made by their rivals.
Ideally, Cristante, Poli and Saponara will add further quality, intrigue and promise to this Milan squad now burgeoning with young talent. While it is slightly worrying watching the new faces arrive elsewhere in Italy, there is also still plenty of time left in the market for things to change.
Many doubted the ability of Milan to compete at Europe top competition or even in Italy itself but I think this is the right strategy. After all, my favorite team, Manchester United used to produce their best players (1999 squad) with most of them from the youth squad. And who will forget about Fergie's Fledging?