AC Milan Going Young for the First Time in Recent Seasons
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AC Milan has been called a retirement home for so long that it is hard to picture them as a young team.
Usually the club is stacked with veteran players, but with the mass exodus of players this summer, there are some shocking numbers to those familiar with Milan when looking at the roster.
There are only seven players that are 30 or older on the Milan roster: Massimo Ambrosini, Daniele Bonera, Christian Abbiati, Marco Amelia, Philippe Mexes, Antonio Cassano and Mario Yepes. This is a far different scenario than when Milan had the likes of Gennaro Gattuso, Mark Van Bommel, Clarence Seedorf and other veterans.
Now, with several aging stars leaving after last season, and excluding Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva who are undoubtedly leaving the club for Paris Saint-Germain, the average age of the first-team squad is 26.7 years. That's an incredibly low number for this club.
Does that mean that Milan will see more success? Absolutely not, but it looks like Milan are building for a run of long-term success, not a win-now situation.
With the Financial Fair Play rules coming into effect, Milan are looking to balance the books. That was why Silvio Berlusconi couldn't turn down the 65 million euro offer the club received for its two star players. However, Milan will still try to spend a little money to bring in players to help towards the goal of a young, talented Milan team.
At the moment, it appears that 26-year-old Bosnian Edin Dzeko is the most likely replacement to Ibrahimovic. The club have reportedly made him their target, despite Adriano Galliani's interest in Carlos Tevez. Tevez has insisted that he isn't going anywhere, so Dzeko looks like a great option. Milan are also interested in Mattia Destro, but a move for the Siena youngster would require the departure of Robinho.
Will this young Milan team rise to prominence in the future?
To replace Silva, it seems Milan are thinking of going with 26-year-old Portuguese back Rolando. The Porto star is believed to be the topic of conversation between Milan and Porto's president's son, who was seen at Milanello for meetings a couple of days ago. Angelo Ogbanna and Davide Astori are two other likely options, and both would make the team a little younger as well.
Milan have plenty of youth at this point, and looking at the current team as well as Rolando and Dzeko, this could be a very good-looking squad in a couple of years with this as a potential lineup:
Gabriel (current age: 19)
Ignazio Abate (25), Rolando (26), Francesco Acerbi (23), Didac Vila (23)
Kevin-Prince Boateng (25), Riccardo Montolivo (27), Antonio Nocerino (27)
Stephan El Shaarawy (19)
Alexandre Pato (22), Edin Dzeko (26)
Other young stars who would be in this mix include Sulley Muntari (27), Mattia de Sciglio (19), Riccardo Ferreira (19) and maybe even Christian Maldini (16).
Rebuilding has to happen in sports sometimes, and for Milan currently dealing with debt, the departure of its top-two players could end up fixing the squad in the long run. This now youthful team is going to be dangerous when it all comes together.
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