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The January arrivals of Adil Rami and Keisuke Honda will be of massive importance to Milan in a variety of ways. First and foremost, both are world-class players capable of staking roles in the starting 11 week in and week out.
Rami in particular, should stabilize a Milan defense that has been mediocre at best. Through the first 15 rounds of Serie A play, they have allowed 23 goals. In comparison, Juventus has allowed 10, Roma five, Napoli 17 and Inter 17. If Milan is to compete with these teams for a spot in the Champions League, they simply must be far stingier protecting their net.
It is no coincidence that Rami's presence at Valencia led to them having the best defense outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid just two years ago. Without him this year, Valencia has the 13th-best defense in Spain. His presence allows Milan to replace Philippe Mexes in the starting lineup, which has the dual effect of strengthening the starting 11 while simultaneously building up squad strength.
On the other hand, new number 10 Honda brings attacking flair to a team often far too unimaginative to break down opposing defenses. As with Rami, his arrival allows Milan to rest Kaká from time to time, ideally keeping the squad fresh as Max Allegri rotates his players.
Finally, the arrival of these two takes on added significance as Milan may struggle to sign top-class talent they would normally have little trouble securing over the summer transfer window if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. As such, it is especially vital that they sign players who can aid the team in both the short- and long-term as they build towards relevance in the league and Europe again.