5. Simone Verdi
The former Italy Under 19 and 21 international has been threatening to break out for a couple years now. Purchased outright from Torino by the Rossoneri after a co-ownership, the twenty-three year old spent last season on loan at Empoli where he played 28 games and contributed 3 goals to the Azzurri cause. Verdi has been sent out on loan to La Liga minnows Eibar and it is hoped he will finally live up to his potential and be worthy of the Milan shirt. It will be interesting to see how much responsibility coach Jose Luis Mendilibar will give Verdi who needs to get a lot of minutes in order to grow as a player. It is uncertain whether the youngster will ever find a place in the Rossoneri squad but a good season with the Basque club could certainly make all the difference in both his Milan future, or his future market value.
4. Andrej Modic
A deep lying playmaker in the mould of a Pep Guardiola, this could be a very important season on loan with Vicenza for Andrej Modic. The Bosnia-Herzegovinian midfielder has all the attributes to fit right in with the Milan first team but some minutes in Serie B could make all the difference. The 19-year old made his name as a focal point of Pippo Inzaghi’s Primavera set up which brought home the Viareggio Cup in 2014. Blessed with amazing ball control and a creative vision, it may be his intelligence which makes him a good candidate to crack the Milan roster in the near future. Probably one of the most complete midfielders in the youth system, it will be interesting to see how he handles playing in the Cadetti. Should he reach his potential, Modic could be the deep lying playmaker the club has been missing since the departure of Andrea Pirlo.
The 22-year old Brazilian goalkeeper has seen his straight forward trajectory to the Milan number 1 shirt take a twist with the arrival of Diego Lopez from Real Madrid last season. Diego Lopez quickly claimed the gloves over both Gabriel and long time Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati under Pippo Inzaghi and proved himself more than capable of the number 1 shirt for the next few years. Gabriel was loaned out last season to Carpi and played an immense role in the Biancorossi earning promotion to the Serie A for the first time in their 106 year existence. Gabriel was first choice for Carpi playing 39 of 42 games in their promotional campaign. The Brazilian has now been loaned to Napoli but it is unclear how much playing time he will receive over Pepe Reina who made his return to the Partenopei after a successful loan stay in 2012-13. Depending on the renewal of Christian Abbiati whose one year extension is up for renewal at the end of the season, Gabriel may be back in the Rossoneri set up quicker than expected. More top flight minutes may make all the difference to who will be backing up Lopez next season.
2. Alessandro Mastalli
The 19-year old central midfielder is not hailed as the “Capitano Futuro” for nothing. A leader in Pippo Inzaghi’s Viareggio conquest, Mastalli dipped his toes in the first team waters last season when he replaced Andrea Poli in the second half of a Serie A game against Torino. Overcome with joy, the player knows what the Milan shirt means. Mastalli has earned very tall praise with comparisons to a young Daniele De Rossi due to his flexibility and comfort in a midfield of three or playing just in front of the defenders. A season on loan with Swiss side FC Lugano will be his first taste of consistent professional football and all eyes will be on the progression of the lad who may one day wear the captains armband.
1.Stephan El Shaarawy
All eyes will be on the 22-year old Italian Stephan El Shaarawy to whom many Rossoneri supporters had once pinned their hopes and dreams. After breaking out in the first half of the 2012-13 season, El Shaarawy saw his fortunes change with the arrival of Mario Balotelli from Manchester City. The player has since been a shadow of his former self and although much can be attributed to injuries, El Shaarawy must shoulder some of the blame for the downturn in form. In 18 appearances for Milan last season, the Savona native found the back of the net just three times. A fresh start in Ligue 1 with AS Monaco, far away from the pressure of the San Siro, may be just what the doctor ordered for El Shaarawy who could finally mature into the player we saw glimpses of under Massimiliano Allegri. This loan deal is a bit of a double edged sword for Milan as should El Shaarawy once again break out and reclaim his form and become the player everyone thought he would be, than a mere 16 million euros is all they would receive from the buy-out clause. Stephan has only found the back of the net once in 7 matches for his new club but things have appeared to be turning around as El Shaarawy has looked comfortable when on the pitch for the side from the principality. Only time will tell how much trust Leonardo Jardim has in El Shaarawy and if he will find a permanent home in Monaco or be back with the Rossoneri next season.