Amidst the recent free agent acquisitions of Reina, Strinic, and Halilovic, most Milan fans find themselves waiting for a big splash in the market. Be it due to issues with UEFA and uncertainty with the club’s ownership, I can tell you that unless players are sold and our issues resolved, new faces won’t be joining anytime soon. Anyways, don’t lose hope and bear with me as in Andrea Conti and Andrea Bertolacci, I can assure you we have two “new” signings.
Let’s begin with Andrea Conti. Conti, arrived last summer from Atalanta in an epic saga that saw Milan snatch him from many top Italian clubs. After arguably performing as the best right back in Italy for Atalanta in a 352, the hype for Conti was qualmed as Bonucci and Silva were signed, but it was clear Milan had acquired a quality player. Unfortunately, from the then 23 year old Italian coming from the best season of his life (8 goals and 5 assists in 31 appearances), he tore his ACL early into his maiden campaign with Milan. Even though the emergence of Calabria has been a pleasure, it makes me think if Milan’s 3 at the back experiment could have been a success with Conti. After recovering from his ACL rupture, Conti returned only to succumb to yet another knee injury. Now, with an entire summer to fully recover from an operation on such knee, we can only hope from the best from Conti and that he at just 24 years old returns like a new signing and delivers at the levels that made him the best right back in Italy.
Less recognized, and a little bit older, another Andrea finds himself as a forgotten man in the Milan locker room. This is Andrea Bertolacci. Similarly to Conti, Bertolaci arrived to Milan after the best season of his life (6 goals and 8 assists in 31 appearances). Bertolacci showed flashes in his first season with Mihajlovic, but struggled to nail down a starting spot. Under Montella, he went down the pecking order and was limited due to injuries. Eventually, failing to justify his hefty 25 million euro price tag, Bertolacci returned to Genoa for the last season and despite regular playing time, he failed to return to his former levels. Nevertheless, after recent rumors that Gattuso is keen on keeping him after being impressed in training, there is hope for Bertolacci. The former Genoa man can be a creative presence from midfield and with a fine left foot, could offer a solid rotation alternative for Milan’s middle line. With Gattuso as coach we can only hope for the best. Along with a great job with motivation and a united dressing room, Gattuso has also elevated individual performances. Assuming Bertolacci manages to stays fit and buys into Gattuso’s ideology, we could be looking at a great player and “new” signing in our hands.
Andrea is quite the name in Milan history. Arguably our greatest midfielder ever bears it and now, with Andrea Conti and Andrea Bertolacci returning as new signings under Gattuso’s guidance and a consolidated dressing room, let’s hope they return to their former levels and may even surpass them.