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Have the Rossoneri spent their money wisely?
15.8 || ART

Too many cooks spoil the broth - thatís how the old saying goes. In the case of the Rossoneri, it couldnít apply more. Admittedly, credit must be given to Galliani, and co. For, despite the so-called Ďcrisisí in Italian football, Milan have been actively strengthening their squad, in preparation for the assault on Serie A, which is expected of them, year after year. This year is no different, and with some of the big guns, such as Parma, and Lazio, struggling to compete both on, and off the field, season 2002-3 is as good a chance as any to add another title to the trophy cabinet.

However, I canít help, but question some of their signings, and whether we really need five top players competing for one position, while we struggle for cover in others. The attacking midfielder role is a perfect example. Last season, we had the mercurial Rui Costa (who, when you look beyond his injury problems, had quite a good season in an average Milan side), and one of my personal favourites, Andrea Pirlo. Now thatís what you call healthy competition. Two top players competing for one place. Both knowing they would get a decent chance of a run in the side, if they managed to impress.

Since then, we have signed Rivaldo-who, despite the outlay, represents an excellent acquisition, Sam Dalla Bona (a pretty good player, but will be lucky to start 10 games this season), and Jon Dahl Tomasson (he must really be cursing his luck, having signed as the teamís new playmaker, before being shoved to the back of the queue by the arrival of Rivaldo).

Even if we revert to a more attacking formation, as has been suggested by certain sections of the media, Milan are unlikely to play any more than two of these players in any one side. Personally, I donít think Rivaldo, and Rui Costa can play together in the same side. I may be wrong, but I just feel that they are too attack-minded, and leave the midfield vulnerable. But both players are too good to be left sitting on the bench week after week. So it remains to be seen how Ancelotti will keep the two of them happy. Iím also worried that Pirlo, one of the best young talents to emerge from Serie A in years, will be wasted in the reserves, and forced to seek his fortunes elsewhere, like so many before him. I canít see Dalla Bona making much of an impression on the first team this year. And as for Tomasson, the fact that he has been linked with a move away from the San Siro, before heís even had a chance to kick a ball in anger, doesnít bode too well for his future at Milan.

The powers that be should have concentrated on strengthening other areas of the side. Most notably the defence, which has looked suspect for a while now. There is not one man you can call world-class in the current Milan back line. Maldini is, undoubtedly, a Milan legend, and a deserving club captain, but the World Cup matches against Mexico, and South Korea, proved he is past his best. Chamot has seen better days also. Roque Junior is accident-prone. Laursen is ordinary at best (although an excellent man-marker). And I cannot, for the life of me, see the reasoning behind selling Helveg to Inter, and then taking him back on loan. Then why sell him in the first place?!?

I would also like to have seen another quality striker brought in to partner Sheva up front. Iíve never really rated Inzaghi too highly, even when he was at Juve. My reasons? Where should I start? He breaks down attacks by getting caught offside too much, wastes too many easy chances (a la Glenn Hoddleís comment about Andy Cole needing five chances to score one), dives in the penalty area way too often, and in attacking situations holds on to the ball for too long. Good enough? I thought so.

AC Milan begin their Serie A campaign at home to Udinese on 1st September. Lets hope that they put my mind at rest, and put on a Championship-winning performance. Hopes and dreams win you nothing in football, but his year we can be sure to see some pretty, flowing football at the Guiseppe Meazza, and plenty of goals. As for silverware, only time will tell.





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