Sunday, September 24, 2017

Can AC Milan transform themselves into title contenders this season?

Michelle Bonsu in Editorial, Serie A 29 Aug 2017

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2011 and €193 million. Those numbers are significant ones for AC Milan. The first, when the Rossoneri last won the Scudetto. The second, approximately how much they have spent this summer in a bid to re-claim it. Or, at the very least, make it into the top four as next season, Italy will have four representatives in the Champions League yet again.

However, having significantly outspent their cross-town rivals Inter, as well as reigning champions Juventus and fellow title aspirants Napoli and Roma, it goes without saying that Milan are harboring ambitions of more than just breaking into the top four. After all, one doesn’t spent nearly €200 million and risk running afoul of Financial Fair Play just to finish in third or fourth spot. One breaks the bank to restore some pride. And to restore pride, that means by winning trophies.

The long wait for silverware finally ends

In December 2016, Vincenzo Montella achieved what no coach since Massimiliano Allegri had done for Milan. Whilst the Supercoppa Italiana is viewed as a “fluff” prize; in short, it doesn’t count for much, beating Juventus certainly is no easy feat. At that time, the Rossoneri were in third place in the table, with high hopes of returning to the Champions League.

Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out, but they managed to finish in sixth spot and make it to the Europa League. Although featuring in Europe’s second-tier club competition is not where a club like Milan envisioned themselves ten years ago, times have changed drastically. As the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers, and having missed out entirely on European competition for the past few seasons, Milan certainly are not in a position to turn up their noses at featuring alongside some lesser known sides.

Besides, look at Manchester United. Arguably among the biggest clubs in the world, the Red Devils ended up playing in the Europa League last season and won it. As a result, they gained an automatic spot into the Champions League despite finishing outside the top four, and that is something Milan could certainly use as a blueprint as they prepare for their upcoming group stage campaign.

But will they be able to push for the Scudetto?

As to whether they are title contenders, it is still early on in the season. However, they have spent an astronomical sum of money and obviously anything less than a top four finish would simply be unacceptable, especially looking at the caliber of some of the players they have brought in. One obvious area is in defense: Juventus certainly have been weakened with the departure of Leonardo Bonucci, whilst Milan obviously have been bolstered with the addition of the highly experienced Italian international.

Furthermore, Milan, for the first time in several seasons, will be competing on three fronts, which, as we all know, can become a taxing effort on any squad. Montella will have to figure out how to manage these different tasks, but one thing is certain: These look set to be exciting times for Milan. They have not been really challenged thus far, as they cruised through their Europa League qualifiers and so far have taken on Crotone and Cagliari in Serie A, but after the international break, things will get really busy, with games every few days.

And that’s when the club’s new owners’ spending will be really put to the test, and perhaps when fans will get a real indication as to whether their investments have paid off.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Bonsu


A freelance writer and student who is as passionate about fashion as she is about football, Michelle Bonsu currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews.com, LiveSoccerTV.com, Football-Italia, Top-Soccer, LeagueLane.com, and Soccer 360 magazine. Her areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, and Ligue 1, but she has also written match previews for MLS and the Primeira Liga.

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