Why should AC Milan fight to keep Mattia De Sciglio this summer? If you need to ask that question, you probably haven't been watching much of the Rossoneri recently.
The 20-year-old full-back is one of the best young defenders in Serie A, with an all-around game and air of ease on the flanks for Milan that belies his age. A native of Milan, De Sciglio is also a lifelong fan of the Casciavit and a product of their youth system.
That last fact, in particular, is important because it's quite a rare thing in recent times. In the current senior squad, Bryan Cristante, Luca Antonini and Ignazio Abate all came through the ranks of the Primavera at the Vismara Sports Centre, but none have made the impact De Sciglio has.
Cristante is still a teenager and as such is too early to judge, but at 30 years of age, Antonini has managed only 81 league appearances for Milan. Abate is only now cementing a place in the squad at 26, having been out on loan and co-owned by Torino. Rightful descendants of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, they are not.
De Sciglio, on the other hand, looks as if he could one day become a Milan legend. Baresi and Maldini were unique talents and both enjoyed careers beyond the capabilities of all but the most blessed, but the early signs suggest that the current No. 2 might one day be held in similar regard.
The last 12 months for De Sciglio have been explosive. Not only has he established himself as the long-term first choice at Milan—no mean feat—he's also broken into Cesare Prandelli's Italy side. He impressed in Brazil during the Confederations Cup and can only get better for the experience.
Since making the jump from the youth ranks, De Sciglio now has eight Azzurri caps to his name in less than a year. He played 29 games for Max Allegri's Rossoneri during 2012-13 and will be crucial to the team's success next term.
De Sciglio has pace, technique and based on his early breakthrough, the attitude and work ethic to make it to the game's highest level. Letting go of a player like that—especially one who is also a massive fan of the team—would be madness. It's something Allegri and the board of Milan cannot afford to succumb to if they're to return to the top of the European game.