Why January will be decisive for AC Milan’s season

As the International break is up and running, some of the Milan players will be out on duty for their respective nations, while the others will get a week’s worth of rest at Milanello. However, even though the Rossoneri are sitting in fifth place, there are a lot of signs of worry. 

The injuries

Lately, Milan have been struggling with injuries on several key players, such as Biglia, Caldara and Bonaventura. This has forced Gattuso to make several changes to the original starting eleven, while also having to switch formation. Naturally, this hasn’t always been easy for the team, although the players have done surprisingly well.

However, the injury list just seems to be growing. In addition to Biglia, Bonaventura, Caldara and Musacchio, Romagnoli has also picked up an injury. The captain was forced to leave Italy’s training camp, although the extent of his injury is unknown. As if this wasn’t enough already, Calabria also left Italy’s training camp (U-21), though it’s believed to be a precaution.

Star striker Higuain has been handed a two-game ban for his conduct towards the referee in the game against Juventus, which Milan have appealed. In other words, Gattuso can’t catch a break, just as it seemed he had got the team back on track.

January reinforcements

As a result of all the injuries listed above, sporting director Leonardo has been called into action to bring in some new players in January. Thus far, he’s already initiated contacts for several players, while one midfielder has already been secured. 21-year-old Paqueta will arrive from Flamengo in early December, which will give him roughly a month to train with the team before officially completing the transfer.

However, signing just one midfielder won’t be enough for the Rossoneri. It has been revealed that Bonaventura will be out for up to five months, as he’s opted to undergo a knee surgery. The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio has mentioned Torino’s Baselli as a possibility, while others have claimed that Sassuolo’s Sensi is on Leonardo’s radar. In any case, it’s likely that at least one midfielder will arrive (in addition to Paqueta).

In defence, Milan currently only have two centre-backs at their disposal; Zapata and Simic. The latter hasn’t played anything for Milan this season, and with that said a defender is needed in January. Negotiations have already started for Sao Paulo’s Rodrigo Caio, who could arrive for around €10m. Juventus duo Benatia and Rugani have also been mentioned, though the Bianconeri are not willing to sell unless a good offer arrives.

Gattuso is also in need of a third striker, as it’s likely that he will continue with two men up front. At the time being, a return of Ibrahimovic seems highly likely, since a proposal reportedly has been presented. All that’s missing is the Swede’s approval, which most likely will arrive.

Milan need to act

In short, the winter transfer market will be decisive for the remainder of this season. Thus far, Gattuso’s men have done well to be where they are, though it’s unlikely that they will be able to keep it up if no signings arrive. Therefore, despite the troubles with FFP, Leonardo will have to come up with a sustainable plan that can benefit the team, while working within the realms of the regulations. Not an easy task, for sure, but one that Milan desperately need to pull off.

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