Jeremy Menez underlined why he is the signing of the season with both of the goals during AC Milan’s 2-0 victory over Udinese on Sunday afternoon.
The win, which comes just a week after a lacklustre draw against fierce rivals Inter, has boosted the Rossoneri’s hopes of Champions League qualification after a recent five-game winless streak spanning back to the middle of last month.
And with the Frenchman in their ranks, the Serie A giants must now be confident of a swift return to European football following this year’s shock absence.
In a summer that also saw the likes of Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata and Nemanja Vidic all swap clubs it is Menez that looks the signing of the season so far.
After being turfed out of former club Paris St Germain by manager Laurent Blanc after falling behind the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi in the pecking order, Milan moved for him in order to bolster their attacking options for the forthcoming season.
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He has since repaid the faith shown by new boss Filippo Inzaghi, firing seven goals and forming a deadly partnership with fellow attacker Keisuke Honda.
Mario Balotelli’s summer return to the Premier League with Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool had left the side without a true goalscorer in their ranks, and despite Chelsea loanee Torres still struggling to adjust to his new surroundings Menez’s contribution has taken some of the burden off the struggling Spaniard.
Torres is not alone in struggling to make the adjustment from the physicality of England’s top flight to the tactical torment of Serie A.
Vidic has failed to replicate the form that saw him become a Manchester United legend during his brief time Inter so far, with new man at the helm Roberto Mancini dropping him for last week’s bore draw against Milan.
Big things were also expected from Dani Osvaldo after the Italian’s miserable time at Southampton, but injuries have marginalised his contribution and he faces a battle for a starting berth with youngster Mauro Icardi.
Morata’s time at Juventus has been hit and miss, but like Osvaldo injuries have held him back and, with Fernando Llorente beginning to hit form alongside Carlos Tevez, the Spanish youngster could struggle to get back into Massimiliano Allegri’s excellent side.
With Menez having stepped up, he needs the rest of his team to start producing similar performances if they are to secure a swift return to European football.
Torres’ consistently bad displays provide reason to panic, and the Italian outfit should battle with Inter for the services of Robin Van Persie, who could leave United with Radamel Falcao regaining full fitness.
Signing a new talisman could be the only way Milan achieve their seasonal goals. Fail to do so and they could be without European football for a long time yet.
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