It has been a troubling few seasons for AC Milan, as the club have found themselves falling away from the elite at both a domestic and European level. Recent finishes in Serie A of eighth, tenth, seventh and sixth represent a remarkable drop in standard and has left the club without European football for three seasons.
Back in Europe this season, albeit in the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League, and backed by ambitious new Chinese owners, Milan have already spent big this summer as they appear to target a return to the Champions League in the very near future.
With their teenage keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma having signed a new four-year contract, the club have backed the young stopper up by signing an entire new defence (Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Andrea Conti and most notably Leonardo Bonucci) for a combined total of over €100m.
The Bonucci signing was an incredible purchase for the club, taking arguably the best centre-back in the world away from rivals Juventus for just €42m in a real statement of intent.
André Silva, Franck Kessie and Hakan Çalhanoglu have also been signed to add more going forward as total spending this summer approaches €200m, and according to CEO Marco Fassone more firepower could soon be arriving.
AC Milan in talks to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches. Loan & €40m option to buy. Won award for best young player at Euro 2016
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 16, 2017
“We would like to have one from Belotti, Morata or Aubameyang. We will see who our choice falls to.
“Clearly we are still thinking of doing something else in that position. We are keeping all the options open and we will definitely do something beautiful.”
Whatever that beautiful something is, such financial investment naturally demands results and Milan will be expected to challenge in Serie A and go deep in the Europa League. However, as clubs before them have found, a strategy of mass spending on a large number of players does not guarantee success.
Real Madrid’s huge spending through the ‘Galácticos’ policy was implemented with the intention of domestic and European domination, but from 2003 through to 2011 Real Madrid won just two La Liga titles and had no success in the Champions League, including six straight exits at the Round of 16 stage.
Marquee names such as David Beckham, Sergio Ramos, Arjen Robben, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all arrived during this period but it made little difference as Madrid found themselves consistently in Barcelona’s shadow until the last few years.
It will certainly not be easy for AC Milan manager Vincenzo Montella to gel so many new players together over the summer, and it remains to be seen how he manages to incorporate so many big-money signings into the team, while keeping last season’s remaining core such as Suso, Alessio Romagnoli and Carlos Bacca happy – presuming they stay at all.
AC Milan have bought their 9th player of the window and are currently resembling a lottery jackpot winner who has lost the run of themselves
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 17, 2017
AC Milan finished 28 points behind Juventus last season, and considering the Old Lady’s recent dominance of Italian football it seems like it will take more than huge spending to bridge this large gap between Juventus and the rest of Italian football.
Often when clubs buy on such a level, the expectation is that the players hardly need coaching and that they should have the quality to win every match. In reality, having so many players used to being the star-man of a side brings it’s own problems as the manager has to squeeze all the big signings into a side even when they do not necessarily fit into a particular system.
It is common for players to take time to adapt to a new club, especially when it’s in a new league, and with AC Milan having so many players in this adapting phase at the beginning of the season it could mean they struggle to provide the instant success expected.
With their season starting early due to Europa League qualifying and this burden of extra games, alongside the strength of Juventus, AC Milan could find themselves struggling early in their Serie A campaign and this will put immediate pressure on the new squad.
Even with their extraordinary spending this summer, it should not be assumed AC Milan will make a real impact in the Europa League or in Serie A, with the new signings putting more pressure on the underachieving Rossoneri to finally deliver.
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