Top three or bust. Scudetto contenders. These are common things Milanisti are saying about the upcoming season for the Rossoneri. As great as that sounds and as possible as that may seem, I don’t think that this team should be judged with such high expectations.
I don’t want to sound like a pessimist or a downer, but I really don’t think Milan are good enough for the top three nor do I think it would be a failure of a season if they don’t reach that mark. The club is going through a lot of change and this is only the beginning of it. First came Mr. Bee (Taechaubol), who brought in a much needed influx of money to buy new players, then came Sinisa Mihajlovic with a new philosophy and also a much needed discipline to the locker room. With fresh new faces and a new coach comes a lot of patience, trust and unity in order to be successful. New chemistry needs to be made. Compared to the other teams Milan should be competing with next season, such as Roma, Lazio, Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter, Milan is going through more of a transition than those teams. With Mihajlovic now on the sideline and multiple new players in the starting XI, everybody is going to have to adjust to each other and find a rhythm, which could take some time. We shouldn’t expect Milan to get off to a flying start and sustain it.
We must also remember that this is a team that finished 10th last season and many of the same players are still on the team and will be starting. Milan signed some quality players, but not exactly the superstars that are going to instantly propel this team into the UEFA Champions League. Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano are good players, but nothing more and they won’t be more than that with the current midfield Milan has. The signing of Alessio Romagnoli is a fantastic one, in my opinion, but he’s still only one man in a four-man backline that still consists of players like Mexes, Paletta and a very inconsistent De Sciglio.
If Milan are to sign a midfielder, such as the heavily linked Axel Witsel of Zenit St. Petersburg, then Milan will have accomplished this season’s goal: filling much needed voids for the long run and not just plugging in the gaps to get by. Romagnoli is a player for the future. If he signed, Witsel falls into that category as well. At 28 years old, Bacca and Adriano are not exactly young, but still should have some good years left in them.
Overall, I don’t consider missing the top 3 a failure, rather top 6 and continuing to improve for years to come. We should, as fans, give the club time to build a quality team that can last for years, rather than just expect them to sign some good players and instantly get back into the Champions League.