As the season comes to a close the top of the Serie A table makes for sobering reading for those behind Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri have won the league at a canter this season and in truth it never looked as if anyone was going to catch Mourinho’s men. AC Milan may occupy third spot in the table now but their season has been characterised more by a bid for Champions League qualification than chasing the Scudetto and for the Rossoneri’s fans this just simply isn’t good enough.
For a team who have won the European Cup (or Champions League) on seven occasions alongside numerous league titles, finishing so far behind the eventual Champions is way below the acceptable standard. AC have some great players but it just hasn’t come together for them this season and I expect the team to be ‘revamped’ before beginning the next campaign.
This leads to the question of what do AC Milan have to do if they are to catch their fierce rivals next season? I’ve watched the Rossoneri enough this season to spot something they need to rectify – the average age of their squad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I rate players like Paulo Maldini, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta very highly, but they’re all the wrong side of 30 (or in Maldini’s case 40) and they need to counteract this with a bit of youth. The team plays fine for an hour or so but you can see the side tire as the game progresses and because the older players have lost a yard or so of pace the way they defend has changed. Maldini used to bomb forward and close people down quickly but increasingly I’ve begun to notice he hangs back and doesn’t risk getting caught out, which is to be expected. Milan need to add a younger player with pace at the back who will be able to match the faster forwards in the league to play alongside the more experienced heads.
They have added David Beckham to their ranks for next season and the former England captain should be a good addition to their side, but he
is again over 30. Beckham’s work rate is phenomenal and his game has never been about pace so his age shouldn’t matter. However, in terms
of injuries it will take him longer to recover and Milan need some younger bodies in their squad who can step up and fill in when players get fatigued or injured.
The quality Milan already possess is formidable to say the least. In Alexandre Pato they do have a very exciting young talent and in Kaka they have one of the world’s top players. The team sheet is without a doubt impressive but for me they need a couple of younger players to give the squad some extra pace and stamina. There have been too many times this season where Milan have failed to see off teams they should have just brushed aside. Losses to Bologna and Palmero stand out in particular but draws with Lecce and Reggina have also upset their title challenge and Milan should have comfortably defeated both of these sides. I have the utmost respect for the Rossoneri’s players but for the majority of them their best years have passed and it’s my football prediction that Milan need an injection of youth into their ranks in order to mount a better challenge for the Scudetto next season.