Former European superpower AC Milan must spend big in the summer if they are to close the gap on Juventus at the summit of Italian football and recapture the glory days of old.
In a season where they now lie in eighth place with just two games remaining, it is now clear more than ever that they are in need of a big financial overhaul of the squad, with Clarence Seedorf’s men failing to recover from the transfer of Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris St Germain in the summer of 2012.
Mario Balotelli has somewhat filled the void – having scored 14 league goals this campaign – but the Italian forward remains the only Milan player to hit double figures for the season.
That his nearest competitor is Kaka - whose erratic form since his transfer last summer from Real Madrid has meant that he misses out on a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad - speaks volumes.
In recent years, Milan has become a sanctuary for those unwanted elsewhere. Adel Taarabt joined the likes of Robinho and Sulley Muntari in forming an ex-Premier League contingent at the club, but all three are players lacking in sufficient quality to lead a title surge.
What Milan need are established players at the highest level who can be persuaded to play under a novice coach in Seedorf and find the lure of the Rossoneri and its prestigious reputation too tough to turn down.
The signs have been promising, if transfer rumours are anything to go by. Tim Krul of Newcastle United is reportedly being eyed as a replacement for stalwart Christian Abbiati, whilst Freiburg shot-stopper Oliver Baumann is also believed to be in contention.
A shock swap deal regarding Balotelli and Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie was mooted, but the Dutchman is unlikely to depart Mancunian waters with David Moyes gone and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal looking set to take the reins.
Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko is another target unlikely to be sold after playing such a crucial role in City’s run to an imminent second Premier League crown in three years.
Fernando Torres seems likely to be sold by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the summer, but Milan should steer way clear of a striker who has failed to live up to his £50million price tag and seen off five managers in his three-and-a-half year stint at Stamford Bridge.
Ultimately, it is up to the board and president Silvio Berlusconi if they are prepared to spend big. Fail to do so and their time in the wilderness could prove indefinite.
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