It’s officially 2016, which means it’s time for yet another installment of the January mercato.
Last January, Milan were one of the most active clubs, scouring far and wide across European football to find reinforcements for a second half run that never came. Players like Alessio Cerci, Salvatore Bocchetti, Mattia Destro, Luca Antonelli and Gabriel Paletta were among the handful of those added at the winter break. Few of these men provided anything of significance as just Cerci and Antonelli remain, while Paletta is on loan with Atalanta. Only has Italian fullback Luca Antonelli proven to be a successful move by Adriano Galliani.
This time around, the Rossoneri will hopefully be more proactive in acquiring the proper, most ideal players to fill out the squad. If the club has any aspirations to return to Europe, now is the time to ensure that it’s a realistic feat.
The urgency to enhance the midfield is apparent. For a few years, this has been the Achilles heel of the club. However, let’s not forget that this club is an unfinished product despite some 90 million euros being invested, and still lacks in several areas of the squad.
With this summer’s newest appointed Milan manager Siniša Mihajlović making the early switch to a winger-based 442/433 setup, the need for quality wingers has never been more clear. Alessio Cerci has done very little to convince anyone that he is the answer on the right, while the resurgent Frenchman M’Baye Niang is more suited and more comfortable as a striker. Factor in the rawness of last winter’s acquired attacker Suso from Liverpool and you have a major issue.
Aside from the club’s most impactful player in Giacomo Bonaventura, Mihajlović is very slim at the winger position and after switching from the 4312 due to the lack of a formidable trequatista, he is now handcuffed.
So for January, Milan will be at the heart of many rumors, most surrounding the midfield. However, there is a need for winger help. Here are some directions Milan could go in order to make the 442/433 more fluent, and more effective.
Diego Perotti, Genoa
Naturally, a Genoa player is a viable option for Milan. Enrico Preziosi and Adriano Galliani have worked together on many deals, the most recent looking to be the loan of Suso to the Rossoblu. In return, Diego Perotti would be a nice addition to the Milan attacking unit as he would be an upgrade over Cerci and give the Rossoneri some stability.
The former Sevilla man hasn’t scored much this year with just the one goal, however Genoa has struggled as a whole.
Mediaset indicated that the chances of seeing the Argentine arrive at Milan have risen.
Galliani could find some good value here with a longtime business partner should they look for low-end buys rather than the large, more riskier ones.
Yacine Brahimi, FC Porto
This past summer, many names were being linked with moves to Milan upon the news of Bee Taechaubol’s minority purchase of the club, one being Porto’s Yacine Brahimi.
The Algerian international of course stayed put and has continued to be a force for the Portuguese outfit, scoring 5 goals to pair with five assists in twenty matches.
While Brahimi remains an unlikely add given his importance to Porto, he is by no means untouchable should Berlusconi reach towards his wallet to add a young solution.
Antonio Candreva, Lazio
The Italian winger would be welcomed by all at the San Siro, well maybe not by the Interisti who he scored a brace against a few weeks ago.
Lazio’s Antonio Candreva would give Milan a massive upgrade to the attack, providing a bit of everything on the right side. The Azzurri winger has the pace, dribbling ability, ball control and eye for goal that would vastly improve this Milan side who currently sit in 6th place. Stefano Pioli’s side currently sit in 10th place and have struggled this season after being pegged as a candidate to battle for the Scudetto.
Candreva has reportedly been courted by several other clubs across Europe, including Barcelona who Marca claims are leading the race ahead of Inter and Milan. This means he would cost quite a bit but given his ability, it’s not shocking in the slightest.
Candreva is definitely a name to keep an eye on in January, especially if the Biancocelesti continue to slide and choose to put major assets up for sale.
Erik Lamela, Tottenham Hotspur
Once a major target of Milan while at Roma, Tottenham’s Erik Lamela could perhaps find his way back into the mix of rumors this month.
The Argentina winger, after moving to England in the summer of 2013 for an estimated 30 million euros, has been a bit sporadic since his move. Lamela hasn’t scored much since his Premier League switch, but has turned it on in 2015-16 for the Champions League hopeful, scoring 8 goals in all competitions. In the Europa League, the ex-River Plate attacker has scored 5 times, making him a key player for the second half.
Again, Lamela is an unlikely option to return to Italy, at least this winter. But, if Tottenham start 2016 off slowly, they could look to cash in on their 23-year old while he remains hot.
Kevin Mirallas, Everton
Everton’s Kevin Mirallas is a possible option for Milan this January. The Belgium winger could become a serious target should Milan ship out Cerci. Calciomercato claims the Rossoneri will attempt to bring in the 28-year old this month.
Mirallas is a Galliani-type target. The player is supposedly looking for a move out and Milan have been the club to open the door in the past, however, the price must be right.
The former Olympiacos man has enjoyed a few good seasons with the Toffees, but has found it difficult to replicate that this season.
While Mirallas would arguably be an upgrade over Cerci, this move would seem to be yet another patch-work move and would otherwise prolong the process of rebuilding a contending club capable of competing for trophies.
Alejandro Gómez, Atalanta
A wildcard option for Mihajlović and Milan is Atalanta’s Alejandro Gómez.
The Buenos Aires born player has quietly had a nice campaign for La Dea, bagging 5 goals to compliment three assists. Gómez could play in several different roles as a winger or attacking midfielder. The ex-Catania attacker would provide Mihajlović with a versatile upgrade over Honda, Suso and Cerci, most likely not costing much more than 7 million euros.
One way of making this move work could involve Gabriel Paletta making his one-year loan permanent with Atalanta, but that is merely just a thought.
Given the demand for midfielders, we can expect that Milan will look to address this weakness first before diving into the winger market. However, don’t be shocked to see “il Condor” act quickly this month and get creative in order to sure up each area of the club. How much money will be spent is up for conversation.