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Remember when Marco Amelia was an up-and-coming young goalkeeper who was showing enough promise to merit a call-up to the 2006 World Cup squad as third keeper?
Yeah, me neither.
Top keeper Christian Abbiati is still playing decently between the sticks at 35 years of age, but his time as a viable first-team option for a team like Milan is rapidly coming to a close. Injuries have limited him to only 25 appearances so far this season in Serie A.
The 31-year-old Amelia is not a viable option as a successor. His rash judgement and decision-making have led to some unforgivable mistakes, most recently his flying lunge at Kwadwo Asamoah against Juventus that came nowhere near the ball and resulted in a penalty that was the difference in Milan's 1-0 defeat at the hands of the champions.
Milan's third keeper is Brazilian youngster Gabriel, who played the last four matches of Brazil's Olympic run last year and can be forgiven for giving up four goals when one looks at the generally disjointed defense that was playing in front of him. Whether he is an option for the future remains to be seen, but Milan is likely to look outside the team for help in goal this summer.
The biggest coup would be presumably outgoing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, with some reports suggesting that now that the team is on more solid ground in relation to the Champions League, it will be a more attractive landing spot than Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala, the EPL's Arsenal and Brazil's Sao Paulo.
Another option is to spend another year with Abbiati in goal and take a flier on one of Serie A's young stoppers, particularly Mattia Perin. The Genoa prospect is on loan with Pescara, and delfini director Daniele Delli Carri has tipped him to be the successor to Gianluigi Buffon at the international level.
Don't let the number of goals Pescara has given up fool you—Perin has played fantastically this season. He's had several games full of a massive number of incredible saves. He was benched midway through the season because he reportedly had an appearance bonus in his contract that Pescara was unwilling to pay, not because his performances were lacking.
Milan will have Buffon's club, Juventus, to contend with if they are to nail the youngster down, but they have two things in their favor. The first is a good relationship with Genoa, from whom they acquired Stephan El Shaarawy two seasons ago. The second is that Juve already possesses a young potential keeper of the future in Nicola Leali, who is projected to be Buffon's backup next season with Marco Storari set to depart.
With Milan in a general mood to build from youth, my guess is that Perin is the way they'll go, with Abbiati spending one more year in goal as a placeholder and Perin as his primary backup.