Just as AC Milan fans began to feel optimistic for the first time since the summer's numerous departures, Football Italia are reporting injuries to both new signing Riccardo Montolivo and star player Kevin-Prince Boateng.
It is measure of how far Boateng has come that there can be little debate about referring to him as a "star" player for Milan. In their recent 3-1 victory over Bologna, he was an ever-present threat. He was impressive even in defeat to Sampdoria on opening day.
Football Italia state that Boateng's absence is caused by having undergone surgery early on Monday. It will at least come as some consolation to the Rossoneri that the area that required surgery was only the Ghanian's right hand—not exactly the foremost area of stress for practitioners of the "beautiful game."
Montolivo's injury may be a cause for slightly more concern. Not only because he is likely to be sidelined for a bit longer, around 21 days, but also because it's the Bergamese's right thigh/hamstring that has taken the strain. This most certainly is a high-risk area for footballers.
The cumulative effect of these injuries is greater than the sum of its parts.
This is a time when coach Massimiliano Allegri is trying to bed in a new midfield, incorporating new players like Montolivo and Nigel de Jong into a changed 4-3-3 system. Against Bologna, it was Boateng who was providing the creative link between the midfield and the attack.
While players like Urby Emanuelson and Mathieu Flamini will make able, if less creative, replacements for the forthcoming games, the frustrating thing for Allegri is that his attempt to create a cohesive unit among his first-choice players will be set back while Boateng and Montolivo recover.
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