Milan have done surprisingly well so far to add a couple of good signings to an area of the squad that has gone unnoticed for many seasons. The neglect shown to Milan’s midfield has been evident as seen in the past few seasons. With the likes of Sulley Muntari, Riccardo Montolivo, Michael Essien, Antonio Nocerino, etc., the lack of creativity in the midfield made matches against lower teams and teams we needed to be competing with for the higher spots in the table extremely difficult. The lower teams we should have been handling often ended up taking a point or sometimes even all three points contributing to us missing out on the European spots in recent years. The Rossoneri must return to European competition this season. Missing out a third time would be devastating to a club with so much history of success in Europe.
Getting back to where we belong starts with building a functioning midfield. If this area of the team isn’t well-built, then the other two areas of the squad, the attack and even the defense, will suffer. Milan has done well so far in this summer mercato to bring in some decent midfield reinforcements like Jose Mauri from Parma and Andrea Bertolacci from Roma. Both of them will help an area of need greatly, especially joining after both having fantastic 2014-15 seasons in the Italian top-flight for their respective clubs. Jose Mauri is a player that can play in any three of the central midfield spots of Mihajlovic’s 4-3-1-2 formation. He’s very young at the age of 19 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop into an excellent player. Andrea Bertolacci will provide something different in the midfield. He works hard and can be creative too as seen by his 6 goals and eight assists for Genoa last season, via WhoScored.com. The former Parma man is a player for the future, while Bertolacci fills a need instantaneously.
Bertolacci will most likely start for Mihajlovic as the right central midfielder and De Jong, of course, will take the holding midfield position right in front of the defense. The question for the midfield remains in that third central midfield position on the left side. Right now, Bonaventura seems to be the preferred option here but his ideal position is not a centralized one. The Italian performs better when he’s closer to goal, either as a winger or a center attacking midfielder. Our other option to play there is Montolivo, but his best days appear to be behind him. He had a great first season with the club in 2012-13 but since then he has regressed and has shown no signs of improving anytime soon, with nagging injuries haunting the previous two seasons. Milan will need to sign someone to play in that last spot for the central midfield. One option Milan have been looking at is Axel Witsel of Zenit St. Petersburg. According to Calciomercato.it, Milan could offer 25 million euros for the Belgian international and it could be substantial enough to reach a deal. Another option Milan have been monitoring is Italian international Roberto Soriano of Sampdoria. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that he could be available for only 10 million euros. Mihajlovic is very familiar with Soriano from their time together at Sampdoria so he would be able to settle in fairly quick.
Most Milan supporters like myself believe that both players would be huge help in solving the midfield puzzle. Witsel would be the preferred signing because he would make our midfield much more aggressive and assist De Jong a lot with his work-rate, but again, both arriving would be best as Soriano is a good option to have. Obviously, there’s still plenty of work to be done before the season starts but both of these players arriving would solve one issue we have had for a long time. They would close the gap for us to secure a top 5 finish in Serie A and returning to European competition once again.