AC Milan Transfers: Scouting Top 4 Rumored Balotelli Replacements

Jason VossFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

AC Milan Transfers: Scouting Top 4 Rumored Balotelli Replacements

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    Fernando Torres could be the second Chelsea player to sign with Milan this summer, with Marco van Ginkel also linked.
    Fernando Torres could be the second Chelsea player to sign with Milan this summer, with Marco van Ginkel also linked.Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    With Mario Balotelli now at Liverpool, centre-forward has been added to Milan's host of transfer needs. 

    Although Giampaolo Pazzini is fit, it hasn't stopped the club's front office from exploring options in the transfer window. 

    Torres, Borini, Mitroglou and Soldado are the names on Milan's shortlist, according to Milan Channel.

    — AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 26, 2014

    In this slideshow, we'll take a look at what each player would bring to the Milan attack and project whether they would fit into Filippo Inzaghi's rebuild. 

Fernando Torres, Chelsea

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    Fernando Torres continues to fall on the depth chart after the summer signings of Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.
    Fernando Torres continues to fall on the depth chart after the summer signings of Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.Associated Press

    By now, we're all familiar with the decline of Fernando Torres

    The former Liverpool star has never been able to find his way at Chelsea and managed just 20 goals in 110 league appearances. Compare that to his 65 goals in 102 Premier League games for Liverpool and you see just how precipitous his drop has been. 

    Last season, Torres made 28 league appearances—16 of which were starts—and recorded five goals and five assists. That calculates at a goal every 315 minutes, or three-and-a-half matches, which is very poor. 

    Diego Costa is currently the unequivocal starter, while Didier Drogba's swansong has begun with substitute appearances in both of Chelsea's league matches this season. 

    Jose Mourinho favors him on the wing, but 23-year-old German international Andre Schurrle is another option up top, leaving very little playing time for Torres to reasonably contend for. 

    Now 30 years old, the Spain international will have little impact on the future, but he would represent a decent rotation option if Milan are able to strike favorable terms. 

    Naturally, Adriano Galliani is attempting to strike a one-year loan deal, but Torres is said to want a three-year contract, according to AC Milan News' Twitter Page (h/t Sky). 

    He's lost most of his pace and confidence, so tying him up on a long-term deal doesn't make sense, especially considering that the salary he'll command would make him one of the club's highest-paid players.

    Via Transfermarkt, Torres is still worth €12 million, but it's imperative for Galliani to haggle. It just doesn't make fiscal sense to invest that kind of money on a fading star who won't make Milan younger at the position. 

    Milan recently made the egregious error of vastly overpaying for a past-his-prime Alessandro Matri and can't afford to make such a mistake again. 

    Of the four, Torres is the most likely to sign with the Diavolo.

    Headline in tomorrow's GdS: "Torres to Galliani on the phone: 'Yes, I want to join Milan'."

    — AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 27, 2014

Fabio Borini, Liverpool

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    With all of Liverpool's attacking additions, Borini could be deemed surplus to requirements.
    With all of Liverpool's attacking additions, Borini could be deemed surplus to requirements.Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    At 23 years old, the once-capped Italian international is the youngest player on this list and would therefore best coincide with the much publicizedyet seldom adhered toMilan youth movement. 

    The former Chelsea man enjoyed a solid loan spell in Italy during the 2011-12 season when he registered nine goals in 24 matches for Roma. He's been decent since returning to England, but it looks increasingly unlikely that he'll fit into Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool squad. 

    Per WhoScored.com, his numbers last season are remarkably similar to those he averaged for Roma three years ago, so there hasn't been much progression to speak of. 

    Borini is rather poor in the air, can struggle delivering the final ball and didn't fully assert himself in Sunderland's offense last season.

    If Liverpool are amenable to a loan deal, it'd work in Milan's favor as the Rossoneri have almost no centre-forward depth when you consider Pazzini is the only natural striker in the team.   

    GdS reports that Milan have an agreement with Borini, but Liverpool aren't willing to loan the striker out.

    — AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 26, 2014

    However, it seems the Reds only want to sell him permanently, and that isn't in Milan's best interest as Borini just hasn't developed much over the past few seasons. 

Kostas Mitroglou, Fulham

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    Mitroglou was supposed to be the man to resurrect the Fulham front line, but he has been disappointing to date.
    Mitroglou was supposed to be the man to resurrect the Fulham front line, but he has been disappointing to date.Associated Press

    After an impressive stint with Greek giants Olympiacos, Kostas Mitroglou moved to Fulham last January for £12 million. The signing came when the Cottagers needed it most, as the London outfit were mired in the relegation zone and plagued by wayward finishing. 

    The hope was for Mitroglou to be 2014's answer to Pavel Pogrebnyak, the Russia international who provided instant results at Fulham following his signing from Stuttgart in 2012. 

    In total, the towering Greek striker amassed 62 goals in 148 appearances for Olympiacos, including 17 goals in 19 matches during the first half of the 2013-14 campaign. 

    A knee injury has limited the Greek international to three league appearances for Fulham, and he's yet to score a goal.

    This season, Fulham find themselves in the Championship and have opened their season with four straight defeats. Mitroglou hasn't featured this term, and as Fulham have only registered two goals in those four matches, they need their big money signing to play and deliver. 

    The 26-year-old has great size— 6'2" (1.88 m)— and was excellent in Greece, but he's unproven in a bigger league and at this point wouldn't be worth taking a flyer on.

    Reports indicate that he will be leaving the English side: 

    Mitroglou's agent: "My client will leave Fulham, but he won't join Milan."

    — AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 26, 2014

Roberto Soldado, Tottenham

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    Soldado's first season at White Hart Lane was a forgettable one.
    Soldado's first season at White Hart Lane was a forgettable one.Petros Karadjias/Associated Press

    An elite goalscorer during his time with Valencia, the Spain international arrived at White Hart Lane amid much fanfare. 

    He was one of the players brought in with the Gareth Bale money and was handed the starting centre-forward spot in then-manager Andre Villas-Boas' 4-2-3-1. 

    However, Soldado struggled to acclimate to English football and managed just 11 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions in his debut campaign. That's not the goalscoring record you want from a £26 million striker. 

    Soldado, 29, does all of his damage inside the penalty area and was prolific at Valencia, registering four consecutive 20-plus goal seasons. 

    This season, under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, Emmanuel Adebayor picked up where he left off under Tim Sherwood and has started in both of Spurs' league matches. Pochettino, like Villas-Boas, favors the 4-2-3-1, and with Adebayor entrenched as the lone striker, Soldado has gone from shiny new toy to bench warmer. 

    A move to Milan would allow him to refine his craft by studying at the feet of one of world football's all-time great poachers, Filippo Inzaghi, but Spurs are unlikely to sell him on the cheap, with Transfermarkt placing his value at €18 million

    Tottenham rejected Milan's loan proposal for Soldado yesterday. They want €12m or De Sciglio in return. [Corriere della Sera]

    — AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 27, 2014

    Soldado is probably the best of the four on this list, but it's highly unlikely he will move to Milan, given the San Siro club's minimal Spanish presence and his parent club being disagreeable to selling him at a massive loss. 

    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored unless otherwise noted.