AC Milan: 8 Academy Prospects to Watch out for at the Rossoneri

Anthony LopopoloFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2015

AC Milan: 8 Academy Prospects to Watch out for at the Rossoneri

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    Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

    The future is all AC Milan have. That’s all they can sell. They can’t challenge for trophies right now, not with the squad at their disposal, not with so little money to spend and not with so little experience.

    At the same time, it’s the future that Milan have abandoned. The few youngsters on the first team can’t even get solid playing time. Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio have only regressed this year, and M’Baye Niang and Riccardo Saponara had to leave the club to get their own chances. 

    This is even with Filippo Inzaghi at the helm. He was the youth team coach for two years, and he still favours Michael Essien over any of his younger peers. 

    To Inzaghi’s credit, he has called up several of his students from the academy. There are a few with real skill too. “Milan can take pride from having such outstanding young players,” Inzaghi told Milan Channel (h/t Football Italia). “I’m happy to take them with us. By being in contact with the first team they can grow further.”

    Here are eight prospects from the Primavera that could buck the trend at Milan and one day graduate to the first team, ranked in order of maturity.

Davide Calabria

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    Davide Calabria is a left-back who has already seen what life is like with the Milan first team. Inzaghi called up Calabria for the game against Lazio in January.

    Calabria was also part of the team that won the prestigious Viareggio youth tournament last season with Inzaghi.

    The full-back position is one of need for Milan, and they should consider the 18-year-old if De Sciglio is sold, which is still a possibility, per Sport (h/t Football Italia).

Ivan De Santis

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    Ivan De Santis is a solid centre-back who played with Italy in the U-17 World Cup. He looks a lot more mature than 17. He has shared the field with older kids, and he has not looked out of place.

    De Santis also played against Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League and kept them at bay for the majority of the game. 

    He was rewarded with a trip to the first team last month.

Stefano Gori

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    Stefano Gori was one of the first youth players called up this season. He has been the third-choice goalkeeper for Milan on multiple occasions.

    The Rossoneri were eager to keep him, so they bought him out entirely in the offseason from Brescia. He is one of the most important players on the Primavera squad.

    He has some good mentors, too. Gori has served under Christian Abbiati and Diego Lopez, and he values all of their advice.

    Getting the call for a game against Juventus blew him away. “For me it’s like winning the final of the Viareggio Tournament,” Gori told Milan Channel (h/t Rossoneri Blog).

Manuel Locatelli

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    He’s been called the new Xavi, and he’s only just turned 17. Manuel Locatelli is a central midfielder with leadership qualities, good feet and great vision. He can dribble and pass the ball with efficiency and change the tempo of the game.

    Locatelli plays his best in front of the defence, but he can play in almost any midfield position. It’s his versatility and his ability to read the game that set him apart from the rest of the boys at his level.

Andrej Modic

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    Andrej Modic has already participated in a Champions League match with Milan. At 17, he was on the bench, ready to go.

    Modic is a year older, and he could be a year closer to playing with the Rossoneri. He is exactly the type of player Milan are missing: a deep-lying playmaker with a long shot and technical understanding of the game. He is a set-piece specialist, too.

    Modic hails from Bosnia. He has played at several youth levels for his country, and he has the potential to play for the senior team.

Alessandro Mastalli

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    Alessandro Mastalli is the captain of the Primavera squad. His teammates nominated him and all agreed that he was the right choice. He is that liked. He has a fantastic attitude about the game, and he keeps his profile low despite training several times with the first time.

    He joined Milan on their last summer tour and earned some playing time. The 18-year-old is quick midfielder with a knack for scoring.

    He is similar in characteristics to Bryan Cristante, the highly touted youth product Milan sold to Benfica this summer.

Davide Di Molfetta

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    Davide Di Molfetta has a 10-minute-long highlight reel and for good reason: He is an explosive No. 10 with great attacking qualities. Di Molfetta has an accurate shot, and he is composed with the ball at his feet. 

    He joined Milan as a 10-year-old, and he has consistently played with kids older than him.

    Di Molfetta can also play as a winger. He can dip in and out of the play and he can take on and deke out defenders.

Hachim Mastour

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    Hachim Mastour is one of the youngest on the list, and yet he is probably the best.

    He can outdo Neymar. Think about that.

    During the game, he is completely unpredictable on the ball. Mastour has almost exclusively scored spectacular goals, and he is not afraid to make a fool out of anyone in his way.

    The 16-year-old has been with the first team for the majority of this season, but he has not yet played a Serie A match. He recently underwent surgery.

    That has not stopped interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, per Cope Deportes (h/t the Daily Express).

    Milan better put this youth project in motion before they lose players like Mastour.