New AC Milan coach Leonardo has a task on his hands this summer. The Brazilian boss has already lost compatriot and former ballon d’Or winner Kaka while former Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti is constantly linked with bringing his former players with him to Chelsea. It would seem that Leonardo is targeting a big striker to hold the ball up and poach a few goals and he has been linked with two who are among the best in the business – England’s Peter Crouch and Brazilian hotshot Luis Fabiano.
With Pipo Inzaghi nearing retirement age (he’s 35) the San Siro outfit need someone who will be able to get the goals and play every game. Fabiano and Crouch both fit this bill and I’m confident both would be able to adapt to Serie A football. Crouch in particular has his detractors, but for me he is in fact an excellent footballer. The former Liverpool forward may not be as good in the air as you’d expect him to be (he stands at 6ft7 tall but still isn’t comfortable in the air) but he has more skill than people give him credit for. I remember Crouch scoring a very impressive scissor-kick/overhead goal against Bolton Wanderers and he isn’t afraid to have a shot.
Fabiano currently plays for La Liga side Seville as well as being a regular in the Brazil national side. He finished as top scorer in the Confederations Cup in South Africa with 5 goals and arguably has a better shot than Crouch. His record at international level of 22 goals in 31 games is among the best in Brazilian football history but Seville have placed a hefty price tag on his head (reports suggest around 30m euros, with AC willing to pay 18m).
It would seem that Milan’s interest in Arsenal star Emmanuel Adebayor has waned, perhaps because of his high-price tag and a lacklustre campaign last time around. They look to be after a big striker still and either Fabiano or Crouch would be a decent addition to the side.
In Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato the Rossoneri have quality playmakers who could provide excellent support for a big man in the middle. Both Crouch and Fabiano are ideally suited to this role. In his time at Liverpool Crouch led the line well and allowed space for players such as Steven Gerrard to cause damage, he could well do the same at Milan for Ronaldinho and co. Fabiano is no stranger to working with players with flair, he linked up with Manchester City striker Robinho on numerous occasions to deadly effect at the Confederations Cup.
At £10m (around 11.5m euros) Crouch is the cheaper option of the two and with Premier League giants Manchester United also reportedly interested in Fabiano Milan may opt for the Englishman. I feel Crouch could adapt well to Italian football as he is a very clever reader of the game (another thing he isn’t given credit for) and would be a success at the San Siro. Whether or not Milan sign either player, it seems clear they are searching for a powerful striker and I for one am interested in what Leonardo does over the summer. For too long now Milan have been overshadowed by their neighbours and if Leonardo is to join the legendary managers of the great side it seems a safe football bet that he will have to figure out a way to topple Inter Milan’s domination.