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Saturday January 26 2013
Milan's transfer delirium

Alex Mott wonders what the Rossoneri can possibly be thinking going all-out for Ricky Kaka, Mario Balotelli and Cristian Zaccardo.

“We are focusing on youth and have some excellent talents at the club right now,” President Silvio Berlusconi told reporters back in December. “We are trying to strengthen the squad with the introduction of young champions.” After an indifferent start to the season with initial losses to Sampdoria, Atalanta and Udinese inside the opening four weeks,  the Rossoneri chief was keen to build from the ground up – start afresh with a side built around the exciting talents of Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio.

As statements go, it was as clear as day. But like all the best politicians, the Milan President has got to January, and done a complete U-turn.

The reports and rumours coming out of Milanello have been never-ending since the start of the New Year. A host of different agents have been seen coming out of the training ground gates, the Italian dailies have led with numerous different stories of Diavolo signings.

But no matter what the headlines have said – all the players linked with Milan this window have been the exact opposite to Berlusconi's original mission statement.

It was meant to be a time of austerity for the club – a time for reflection and growth under its own means. However, with the close of the winter window looming Berlusconi and his cronies have panicked and are on their knees trying to bring in a host of superstar names.

Real Madrid playmaker Kaka is perhaps the most high-profile of the targets, and the personification of what has gone wrong in Milan’s boardroom. The Brazil international left San Siro in 2009 for a then world record fee of €68m, but has found himself on the fringes of the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to a series of knee injuries and the superior performances of Mesut Ozil.

A reunion with the Seleçao man was proposed this month, with Kaka receiving €12m during a two-season loan-deal – a preposterous amount of money for someone the wrong side of 30 and with a history of lengthy lay-offs. Add to that the fact that 23-year-old Alexandre Pato was allowed to leave for Corinthians just a few weeks ago and you start to wonder what the Milan hierarchy are thinking.

It’s that same baffling logic that also links Mario Balotelli with the Rossoneri. The Manchester City forward has seen his asking-price drop like a stone over the past few weeks since Milan’s reported interest, and it seems likely that Roberto Mancini would want rid of the troublesome striker - the former Inter man has been in more training ground bust-ups than he has hit the back of the net this season.

But why would Massimiliano Allegri’s team want the Italy international? Performances of any real quality have become the exception, not the norm – and it seems a genuine worry whether anyone can get the best out of the youngster. But as Ignazio Abate’s agent has confirmed, “if Zenit St Petersburg raise their offer, then maybe Abate could go to Russia. After all, Milan are looking for the funds to sign Balotelli.”

In his original statement to the Press last year, Berlusconi admitted that patience really would have to be a virtue.  “This is a transitional period and we had champions for 26 years, but must now have a little patience,” he claimed. “We give ourselves three years to get back to being protagonists in Italy and the world.”

Now 31-year-old Cristian Zaccardo has officially joined from Parma. Kaka, Balotelli and even David Beckham could also reportedly become Milan players by the end of next week. And if they do join, this knee-jerk reaction could mean it takes longer than three years for the Rossoneri to be back on top of Serie A.

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Have your say...
I'm as frustrated with management's handling of this transfer window and the current transfer policy as much as the next fan. But I suspect you haven't been following this team very closely if you're questioning why they let Pato go. His last physical for the team before his departure showed that his bones are actually made of porcelain and filled with a caramel marrow. Additionally, do you really expect that EVERY transfer will be a U-23? You need veterans, you need experience.
on the 26th January, 2013 at 12:07pm
Zaccardo was needed. Mesbah was not. The priority this season is to qualify for the champs league. If Milan dont do that then who will want to sign for them next year? Thats why they are trying to make these signings now. Its the last chance. Kaka is badly needed. He can provide that spark. Hey Alex, who scored more goals in the last 2 years, Balo or Pato? Cant say im baffled that Pato was sold. As a Milan fan, i wouldnt want either. One is a disruptive idiot and the other is always injured
on the 26th January, 2013 at 10:55am
Well this is the guy who thought it'd be a great idea to bring Rafa Benitez to Milan, so he obviously knows what he's talking about.........
on the 26th January, 2013 at 10:48am
I'd like to see Santon, Astori back, Ogbonna and Jovetic. A few signings and the side could actually turn into a title challenging team. They need consistency. They don't need stupid signings.
on the 26th January, 2013 at 10:08am
Pazzini needs a run of games and he could reach his potential. Signing Balotelli would just crowd him out. It would be a shame to see Abate go. He had the potentially to be our future captain. Allegri should move him into midfield so that De Scoglio can continue at right back. Zaccardo (I actually Milan to sign him when he was in the U21) can remain as cover. Allegri should just pick a team and stick to it until the end of the season. Then Milan can look at bringing in 2 - 3 worthwhile players.
on the 26th January, 2013 at 10:06am
The transfer window for most clubs is an exciting time. Personally as a Milan fan I sit through the transfer window nervously hoping Galliani does not do something really stupid. One of Galliani's biggest failings has been his lack of strategy. His signings often turn into selection headaches for the managers. It is difficult not to want to see Kaka return but we need to be careful we do not crowd out other players who are finally getting settled.
on the 26th January, 2013 at 10:02am
For me they have done great business in signing Zaccardo, a solid versatile defender, only fools will go on about his own goal in 2006 blah blah, If he covrs right back and centre back Milan should sell Abate but fot more than 10 million to then fund a deal for Kaka, Balotelli can wait till the summer maybe give Milan a chance to send back Bojan and get rid of Robinho thus creating more in the budget. I cant see Beckham happening unless its short term and I dont think he would want that.
on the 26th January, 2013 at 9:57am
Wrong:
1) None of the midfielders in the squad right now have that edge that Kaka can provide in the final third. Besides that, he's an ex-champion, one of the old guard that can set an example and still provide the goods.
2) Balotelli can win a game with a moment of genius. If there's a team that can bring the best out in a player, it's Milan considering the fact that he's been a supporter since he was young.
3) Zaccardo is decent, and we got rid of mediocre Mesbah. No complaints in that regard
on the 26th January, 2013 at 9:54am

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