Assessing AC Milan's Summer Transfer Window Activity
It has become the norm around Via Turati to expect a fairly uneventful transfer session until the last few days of the window.
Like we've seen for a few seasons now, most of the activity comes right at the end of the mercato, and this year proved to be no different as Adriano Galliani pulled off two late shock-moves, bringing in both Alessandro Matri from Juventus and Ricardo Kaka from Real Madrid.
There's no doubting that the main signing of 2013 would be the Mario Balotelli swoop than happened in January. Milan fans weren't expecting much else in terms of world-class talent this summer, as the budget is hardly what it used to be.
Right away, Milan brought in a few key components.
The underrated Andrea Poli was signed from Sampdoria after falling off the radar despite being pegged a few years prior as Italy's next new midfield maestro.
To continue the youth movement, Galliani hunted the Serie B for talent and found the talented 21-year-old Riccardo Saponara who plied his trade at Empoli.
Saponara looked very promising in Italy's Euro U-21 tournament run, in which the team reached the finals and lost out to a much better Spanish side.
He scored a few magnificent goals, showing class finishing and an ability to set up teammates which has already seen the media compare him to Kaka.
Silvestre's role on the team will probably be that of a squad player, as the duo of Philippe Mexes and Christian Zapata seem to be coach Massimiliano Allegri's favorite.
Here's where it gets very interesting: With one week left in the window and the need for upgrades in defense, goalkeeper and midfield evident, Galliani pulled off the shock transfer of Matri around the same period that Kevin Prince Boateng was sold to Schalke after netting a brace in the Champions League qualifiers against PSV.
How do you grade Milan's Summer Transfer Window?
What's interesting about this is the fact that Milan's attacking sector was by far the most complete on the team. To further cause confusion, Ricardo Kaka was taken on a free transfer from Real Madrid after a disappointing spell in the Spanish capital.
Kaka's move was purely nostalgic, even though the first signs are that Milan will now switch to a 4-3-1-2 to accommodate the former Ballon d'Or winner.
The signing of Matri has also caused a head-scratching reaction. Despite being reunited with Allegri, who was his coach at Cagliari, Matri is hardly the difference maker Milan needs, nor does he fit the youth project Milan was so adamant about instilling.
Overall, Milan's transfer window was an awkward mish-mash of signings for the future and nostalgic ones which could end similarly to how Andriy Shevchenko's second spell with Milan finished.
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