Christopher Penn’s weekly column
When Maldini, Leonardo and Kaka knock on your door – how can you say no?
This January will see young Brazilian prodigy Lucas Paqueta join the Rossoneri ranks, and hopefully herald a new era for the the side. One month away from the mercato opening, there is an air excitement and amongst the fans – however that brings pressure for the youngster.
The sensationalist media have already dubbed him the ‘new Kaka’ – with characteristic attacking midfield play to the Milan legend; and with our on-field play certainly lacking creativity from a central position – there is a hope that he can fill the void.
But this hinges on Gattuso. His love of the 4-3-3 is well documented. Turning, perhaps foolishly, Hakan Calhanoglu into a left winger and I guess there is fear of Paqueta being mis-used as well.
We’ve been here before. Alexandre Pato may have been part of the 2011 title winning side, however his niggling injuries didn’t see him fulfill his undoubted incredible potential in the red and black.
Injuries, and insane mismanagement, also stiffled the career of young Italian Stephen El Shaarawy who was beginning to look like the new heralded son of Milan in 2013. He is now at Roma enjoying Champions League football.
And there’s 38m euros Andre Silva – international best friends with Cristiano Ronaldo, who got no game time under Gattuso with the preference for a mis-firing Nikola Kalinic. He is now at Sevilla challenging for the golden boot in La Liga as Sevilla look to shock the footballing world by winning the Spanish title.
Paqueta provides another opportunity for Milan to introduce a hungry, raw-talented player into the side; just like the success story that is Patrick Cutrone (so far). Milan must be proud that they battled off, reported, interest from Liverpool and PSG to secure the young Brazilian’s signature.
Now is the time to mold him into the AC Milan team spine and integrate him into our bright future – Donnarumma, Romagnoli, Paqueta and Cutrone. Perhaps names that will be celebrated in the decades to come with our 19th title win or 8th Champions League win.
As always, Forza Milan.