Filippo Inzaghi will lead his Milan side during their first training sessions for the upcoming season this week.
He will do so with most of his players in tow as the squad prepares to depart for the United States ahead of the beginning of the new Serie A season.
One player whose future in Italy remains in limbo, however, is Adil Rami.
Rami has been excused from attending pre-season training with Valencia ahead of his expected permanent transfer to Milan.
Negotiations between the two clubs are ongoing, and Milan has so far balked at meeting Valencia's €7.5 million valuation of their player, as reported by Forza Italian Football.
Inzaghi's Milan have gotten off to a good start to the transfer season, shedding several players who wouldn't have had much of a role and only prevented younger players from gaining valuable experience.
That being said, it would be a big mistake for Milan to lose Rami over a couple of million euros.
Milan's first-choice center back corps consists of Cristian Zapata, Philippe Mexes and Alex. Mexes is on the downside of his career and should not be relied upon to start every week. Zapata has shown similar ups and downs, and Alex has yet to appear in a Milan jersey.
Other players like Daniele Bonera, Matias Silvestre and Cristian Zaccardo are not at the level required for Milan to improve as a team.
Rami has proven to be a solid contributor for Milan during his time under former manager Clarence Seedorf, displaying an aerial prowess and offensive contribution no other Milan center back can offer.
Of course, even without European football to distract the Rossoneri, squad depth is important and at such a low price it is prudent to invest in a quality defense.
This precedent has been set by many other clubs, such as Barcelona and Liverpool, whose shaky center back situations have led to much consternation from fans in recent seasons. Indeed, Liverpool likely missed out on the Premier League title as a direct consequence of the defense's shortcomings last season.
Should Milan follow through and re-sign Rami, he and his new partner Alex will provide the experience that comes from playing in the Champions League as Milan attempts to make a run at a top-three spot in Serie A this season.
Unfortunately, as fans of Milan very well know, the club has been extremely frugal to the point of being cheap in recent years, and the signing of Rami is still not a foregone conclusion.
While the club reportedly chases targets like Antoine Griezmann and Juan Manuel Iturbe, at exorbitant costs no less, the focus should be on solidifying the defense.
Without the lure of Champions League football, chasing players like Griezmann, who will no doubt be courted by other big-name clubs, would be costly and potentially a waste of time as other clubs are currently in a better position than Milan are financially.
Players with international experience like Rami do not come along often at a price under €10 million, and with the familiarity between the two sides the risk is minimized.
Inzaghi's job will be far more straightforward with Rami as a piece than it otherwise would be, and Inzaghi and Milan's management should make sure not to fail in negotiations with Valencia to keep him in Milan permanently.
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