Italian wonderkid Stephan El Shaarawy is facing a crucial year in his career at Italian giants AC Milan as they look to secure Champions League football under the stewardship of new manager Fillipo Inzaghi.
The youngster endured an injury hit campaign last term as Milan finished outside of the European places, and also missed the World Cup in Brazil with his fitness cited as the main factor for his absence amongst the elite.
Fitness & form scuppered PL move
Past interest from Premier League duo Manchester City and Arsenal has stalled ever since, yet a revival in form and fortune could force them to reconsider.
His breakthrough season at the club came during the 2012-2013 season and saw him score 19 goals in 46 appearances to first turn the heads of Europe’s finest, also prompting his first call-up to the Italian national team, who he has since represented on nine other occasions.
Yet neither Massimiliano Allegri nor Clarence Seedorf could keep the youngster fit and firing, and that Milan’s malaise coincided with his prolonged time away from the game was no coincidence.
Hope for a brighter future
The San Siro is currently a dark place to be. No longer the fortress of old with both AC and Inter Milan toiling in the wake of Juventus’ dominance, but there is hope amongst the Rossoneri faithful that El Shaarawy holds the key to a better and brighter future.
When on song he is a tenacious talent, a tormenter of any defence in world football. If he finds the form of old Inzaghi faces a stern challenge to maintain his services.
Comparisons with former striker Alexandre Pato are premature and crude. The Brazilian forward made a similar blistering impact for the club in 2008, but injuries and loss of form contributed to a sad exit to Corinthians last year. He has since joined San Paulo, with his career now at a standstill.
Return will be like a new signing
The future of Mario Balotelli remains shrouded in uncertainty, but the mercurial forward will not be a huge loss if he departs and El Shaarawy hits the heights of old.
At just 21-years-old he has his whole future mapped out in front of him, but given the plight of Serie A the remainder of his playing days may not be played out in his native homeland.
His return to the side will be like a new signing – and with Jeremy Menez already snared the Inzaghi reign could see some attacking, enterprising football that was so non-existent last season.
The Italian youngster could be the biggest revelation in Serie A next season. It would be no understatement to say the destination of the Scudetto title hinges on what he does next campaign.