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Into the Great Unknown

The departure of so many legends on Sunday screams for some tribute posts, but with emotions still raw, I thought it would be better to test the waters of a different kind of emotions… the future of Milan.

A new adventure?

In interviews, Galliani has made it clear that he plans to build the team around Ibra and Thiago Silva. Except that Ibra is a nomadic type of star, and although he insists he is staying (just like he has every year at every other club) it is well know that he is very angry that the club won no trophies this year. It has also been leaked that a favorite ex-coach of his, Jose Mourinho phoned him to invite him to join him at Real Madrid. That may be too tempting considering they actually did win a trophy this year.

The other school of thought is that Ibra is getting older and not as excited about moving around so much. His boys are apparently enrolled in their schools for next year in Milan, and other rumors involve he and his longtime partner Helena househunting in Milan. Having won the Capocannoniere is a personal victory, even if the club only won the Supercoppa this season, and that may be just enough to appease him and keep him at the club one more year, with the promise of reinforcements.

Will he be true?

Thiago Silva has also been linked with a Spanish club, back when both clubs were winning this season. Barcelona have wisely targeted him for a while now, and it was feared that he might just take them up on their offer. But things have changed, Guardiola is leaving, and the risk that they could reproduce the incredible winning side again with a first time head coach may be enough to keep him where he is. And it can’t hurt that Nesta sang his praises and named him as his apparent heir before he left. Certainly, the statements he made following that indicate that he wants to stay and live up to that expectation.

Despite lowering the wage bill a lot by saying goodbye to the Old Guard, some people worry whether or not there is enough funding to reinforce appropriately. The age old rumors of selling Pato have resurfaced, fueled by Carlo Ancelloti’s statements that they will in fact try to lure him to PSG again this summer. Some reports say that Robinho wants out, again another cycle that seems to repeat itself. But I think that selling or trading a bigger star to fund other purchases is a less likely scenario…I hope.

Just what we need... one more misfit

Some say Balotelli is a target, others say Tevez, but our front line is the last area we need reinforcements in. Flavio Roma is rumored to be leaving, so Milan have been rumored to be shopping for 3rd keepers. Or they could stick with Piscitelli from the youth squad and promote him.

For our back line, Mexes could be on his way out, and rumors say Acerbi, who is also a Milan fan, could be on his way. Others say Astori, and still others Ogbonna. How realistica any of these are is uncertain, considering that with Berlusconi at the helm, we are more likely to buy 5 new strikers than buy someone who can perform better than Bonera. I think most people feel confident with De Sciglio and Abate fighting for first team spot at right back, so we should be okay there. The left back issue may never be resolved, with Urby being groomed or maybe Didac Vila returning, but one would hope that at some point we actually do purchase a true left back who knows how to attack and defend... well.

But it is our midfield that is most in need of work, with all of the injuries this season, it was left the most exposed. Montolivo is signed and ready for action, Allegri feels confident that he can play at the center defensive midfielder spot or on the right or the left. TraorĂ© is apparently on his way, too, although he does not appear to be a “quality” signing. We’re still a little weak on reinforcements on either side, but it is the trequartista role that worries me the most. Boateng was injured for about half of the season, and doesn’t quite fit the traditional role of a trequartista, either.

The honeymoon is over.

But perhaps the biggest question mark of all is Allegri. Berlusconi and Galliani have backed him and repeatedly said he will be the manager for the next two seasons. While I support keeping him, and can’t get behind any of the names being discussed as a better alternative, I also will not cry a river if he goes. He has gone from everyone’s hero, winning a Scudetto in his first season, to everyone’s villain, making everyone angry about something, and coming home virtually empty handed for the season.

So the onslaught of rumors is even bigger this year than most, having finally let go of our past. With the old guard saying they were stepping aside for the new players, it is hard to trust that we will ever build such a team again. This one would be a tall order for even the master skills of Galliani. But let’s hope for a miracle, and hope that the players who were left behind truly can step it up a notch. It’s frightening, and yet a little exhilarating as we step out into the great unknown.

This post inspired by the music of the White Stripes