How Diego Lopez Signing Is Indicative of a Plan at AC Milan

Bobak Abdolmohammadi@@BobdolmoFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2014

Real's goalkeeper Diego Lopez looks out from the bench before the start of a Group B Champions League soccer match between Real Madrid and Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Paul White/Associated Press

Diego Lopez is scheduled to undergo a medical with the Rossoneri today ahead of signing a four-year contract with AC Milan, per Marca.

The soon-to-be former Real Madrid goalkeeper immediately upgrades what has become a problem position for Milan, with incumbent Christian Abbiati underperforming over the past couple of seasons.

As the man who displaced Iker Casillas with Los Blancos, Lopez is experienced and able to cope with the pressures of playing for one of Europe's top clubs.

Milan manager Filippo Inzaghi is delighted with the move, stating to reporters, per Mark Doyle of, "He's an experienced goalkeeper. He's going to improve our team."

A string of poor results on Milan's recent American tour dampened the enthusiasm following Inzaghi's appointment as manager, with the team suffering heavy defeats against Olympiakos and Manchester City before better performances against Liverpool and Chivas Guadalajara.

Nevertheless, Inzaghi has been proving a shrewd manipulator of the squad he inherited, shipping out Urby Emanuelson, Kaka, Alessandro Matri, Bakaye Traore, Marco Amelia, Antonio Nocerino, Valter Birsa, Kevin Constant and Robinho.

While most of these departures were loan moves, none of the players were going to play a role next season under Inzaghi, and his ability to identify the deadweight in the squad and find takers may well prove fruitful in the long term for Milan.

Arrivals have included Jeremy Menez, Alex, Adil Rami and, according to The Associated Press (h/t USA Today), Pablo Armero along with Lopez.

Despite Inzaghi's total lack of experience managing at the highest level of club football, it is encouraging for Milan supporters to see him take initiative and be aggressive in the transfer market. 

The absence of funds has made it extremely difficult for Milan to make high-profile signings, and the club has bore the brunt of more than its fair share of jokes involving their seeming inability to sign anyone who is not a Bosman transfer.

Regardless, the team is far better off than they were at the start of the summer, with a smaller squad and the chance to give playing time to younger, presumably hungrier players than the likes of Robinho, who embodied much of what has ailed Milan over the past several seasons.

There are numerous positions still to be addressed on this squad, including in midfield and at right wing. Inzaghi's 4-3-3 formation requires two mobile midfielders alongside Nigel de Jong and Bryan Cristante, Riccardo Saponara and Andrea Poli, while talented, are unproven as of yet.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Inside Futbol), long-term target Alessio Cerci remains a favorite of Inzaghi's and would be a perfect fit at right wing. Adel Taarabt could also make a return to the side.

The impression is that a move for Cerci would wait until the end of the transfer window, as Milan will hold out for the lowest possible price, but there is hope Milan could secure him to aid their push to return to the Champions League.

Whether it is Cerci or Taarabt who arrives in the end, it is a very positive sign that Inzaghi has targeted certain players who fit his vision of the next great Milan side. For Constant's departure, he brought in Armero. For the declining Abbiati and the subpar Michael Agazzi, he has brought in Lopez.

Challenging for the Scudetto is certainly asking for too much this season, but a rapidly improving transfer window is raising optimism once more for Milan to make some noise in Serie A.


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