5 Reasons Why AC Milan Will Qualify for the Champions League Next Season

Matteo Bonetti@@TheCalcioGuyContributor IAugust 14, 2014

5 Reasons Why AC Milan Will Qualify for the Champions League Next Season

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    After failing to reach any European competition for the first time in over a decade, AC Milan now have a sparkle of optimism after a few key moves in the summer transfer window have given their fans renewed hope.

    The move to swap left-back Kevin Constant for Pablo Armero makes the team better, and the Rossoneri finally have a great goalkeeper in Diego Lopez to help their porous defense.

    It's time for this historic club to get back to winning ways in all competitions and live up to their billing as one of the most storied sides in Europe.

    Here are five reasons why Milan will reach the Champions League by finishing in the top three in Serie A this upcoming season. 

No European Competition to Distract Focus

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    This upcoming season, Milan won't have a European campaign to distract them from achieving their goal and getting back into the Champions League. 

    While the Europa League was attainable after their late-season push, it isn't the type of competition Milan truly care about. In fact, it could be seen by some as a problematic obstacle which tires out players ahead of domestic matches in Serie A.

    The Europa League is especially tricky because the games are played on a Thursday, which sometimes leaves only two days of rest until the next domestic outing.

    Consider it a blessing in disguise that Milan failed to reach the top five last season. Now they can go into the new campaign knowing that they can fully exert their efforts domestically. 

Turmoil Won't Be the Main Headline

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    Last season, turmoil seemed to engulf the club. Coaching changes, unsettled players, disarray at the top of the organizationit was all there for fans to see.

    Adriano Galliani nearly stepped down from his post after an internal dispute, and the maligned Massimiliano Allegri was fired in January only to be replaced by the inexperienced Clarence Seedorf.

    Seedorf was fired only six months after his appointment.

    There will hopefully be more stability in and around the organization so the players can focus on achieving their objective under the likable Filippo Inzaghi.

New Signings Will Have a Big Impact

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    Alex and Jeremy Menez were brought over from Paris Saint-Germain to add a bit of experience and depth to the squad.

    The signings of Diego Lopez and Pablo Armero were also recently announced, per Sky Sports.

    All four of these players could have a significant impact on the starting XI.

    Lopez finally gives the club a nearly world-class goalkeeper. Meanwhile, Alex and the rest of the defense will also be more comfortable knowing that someone of his caliber is defending the goalposts. 

    Although Menez is a polarizing figure, he can be excellent on his day and only suffers from the occasional lack of effort or lapse in concentration.

    Armero was effectively swapped in for Constant. The Colombian left-back has Olympic pace on the flanks and is coming off a fine World Cup performance. 

The Return of Stephan El Shaarawy

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    Consider the return of Stephan El Shaarawy as a new summer signing for Milan.

    The ex-teenage star, who scored 14 goals in the first half of the Serie A campaign two years ago, missed virtually all of last season with lingering foot problems.

    He was finally able to come back to full fitness after a long rehabilitation process and could take some of the goalscoring weight off the shoulders of Mario Balotelli.

    It wasn't too long ago that El Shaarawy and Super Mario were the attacking duo of the Italian national team. The two have good chemistry together, and El Shaarawy adds a vital element to Inzaghi's 4-3-3 formation.

    Not only is he great in possession, but his work rate off the ball and defensive hustle make him vital.

A More Balanced Formation with Inzaghi

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    Clarence Seedorf's diabolically offensive 4-2-3-1 formation often left the team exposed on the defensive end, especially with the likes of Mario Balotelli not putting in the required work rate when not in possession.

    Inzaghi has gone with a more balanced 4-3-3 formation that will include three midfielders and two wingers in support of Balotelli.

    Expect Riccardo Montolivo to lead the midfield when he returns from his leg injury, alongside Nigel de Jong and either the youngster Bryan Cristante or Andrea Poli.

    Up front, it's up to Stephan El Shaarawy and Jeremy Menez to provide width while Balotelli lingers around, always looking to get himself space to shoot from distance.