AC Milan have been a club in flux over the last few seasons with managerial changes seemingly becoming a fortnightly occurrence. However, following the multi-million Euro investment by Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol and the appointment of Siniša Mihajlovi? as new gaffer, the club seem to have entered a new era. With the backing of the new-look boardroom, Mihajlovi? has set about restoring Milan to its former glory, signing no fewer than eleven players to aid his cause.
These signings have settled with varying degrees of success, and with the season nearing the half way mark it is prudent to briefly reflect on their individual performances thus far.
The most high-profile signing was that of Carlos Bacca from Sevilla. The Colombian international was a double Europa League winner with the Spanish club and netted an impressive 20 goals in La Liga last season. With the departures of Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephen El Sharaawy, and the injury to Jeremy Menez, the responsibility of leading the line for i Rossoneri has fallen squarely on Bacca’s shoulders. The 29-year old is yet to fully live up to his €30m price tag, however, but has made a steady start with 6 goals in 15 Serie A appearances, included in which were match winning strikes against Palermo and Empoli.
Following his record-breaking performances in last season’s Champions League campaign with Shakhtar, AC Milan decided to fork out €8m for Luiz Adriano’s signature. The Brazilian forward joined on the same day as Bacca but has struggled to find form in Italy, starting in just half of his 14 appearances in Serie A this season and only scoring 3 times. That said, Milan have not yet lost a game in which Adriano has scored.
20-year Alessio Romagnoli is one of Italy’s most highly rated defenders so it comes as no surprise that AC Milan were willing to fork out €20m to bring him to the San Siro. Romagnoli spent last season on loan at Sampdoria where he even managed to find the back of the net on two occasions. His impressive performances for i Blucerchiati prompted Mihajlovi? to bring him to Milan and the youth international has been a virtual ever-present this season. Romagnoli has been the rock in Milan’s vastly improved defence this campaign and has formed a solid defensive partnership with Alex. Discipline is, however, a slight concern as the prodigious centre-half has already picked up 5 yellow cards and 1 red this season.
Following a less than successful season at Liverpool in which he scored just one Premier League goal, Mario Balotelli returned to Milan for the season on loan. The Italian bad-boy netted in a 3-2 win over Udinese in September and was impressive in the Milan derby, but has been sidelined for the most part of the season following a serious groin injury suffered in October. He is expected to return in the new year.
Milan swooped in to sign Andrea Bertolacci from Roma following a string of consistent performances last season for Genoa. Roma had bought out their co-ownership on Bertolacci before cashing in on him to the sum of €20m. The versatile midfielder, who is a full international with Italy, has been impressive in his 8 appearances for Milan thus far and scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 win over Lazio. The 24-year old has formed a good link with Giacomo Bonaventura and looks set to feature more in the second half of the season.
Another former Genoa star, Kucka joined Milan at the start of the season for a reported fee of €3m. The Slovakian international has featured prominently in midfield but his contribution in terms of creativity and goals has been underwhelming. In 13 appearances so far the 28-year old has created only 1 assist and has not yet managed to find the back of the net. Competition is tight in Milan’s midfield with the likes of Bertolacci and Bonaventura, as well Andrea Poli, Riccardo Montolivo and Nigel de Jong all vying for a starting spot. Should Kucka’s contributions not improve it is likely that he’ll lose his starting berth in the matches to come.
Simone Verdi and Matteo Pessina, signed from Torino and Monza respectively, have both been loaned out for the season while the exciting Argentinian youngster, José Mauri is yet to make his Serie A debut.
Featured image: all rights reserved by Stefano Brivio.