Milan infused with new talent
Out of all the top clubs across Europe, AC Milan arguably was one of, if not the busiest, team in the transfer market. It was eye-boggling how many players were brought in. During June and July, Milan fans woke up almost every morning with news of a player who had just signed for the club. Finally, once the transfer market was all said and done, 11 new players had joined the Rossoneri. Enough to field a brand new starting line-up. With the new talent Milan possesses, fans are hoping they have assembled a squad worthy to compete for a Champions League position.
Parted ways with others
While most of the headlines were focused on the new players being purchased, CEO Marco Fassone and Sporting Director Massimiliano Mirabelli were busy selling players that no longer had a role to play. Milan did an excellent job bringing in a wealth of talent, but it was smart business to get rid of the players they no longer needed. Even as 11 players joined Milan, 12 departed.
Here, we’ll take a look at the 12 players who left Milan, either permanently or on loan:
Mattia De Sciglio: Juventus (Permanent)
De Sciglio never quite lived up to the hype that once surrounded him. A player who came up through the Milan youth system, he was at one point tipped to be the next Paolo Maldini. After he stepped into the spotlight in the 2012/13 season, which saw him win “Serie A Best Left Full-back”, things took a turn for the worse. Inconsistent play and a lack of confidence saw him collapse under pressure. He never got back to the level he had started at. Last season, after he openly admitted he would like to join Juventus, fans turned against him. After falling from grace, it’s easy to say he will not be missed.
Rodrigo Ely: Alaves (Permanent)
Ely spent more time out on loan than he did with Milan, and never played a significant role in the team. Sinisa Mihajlovic gave him an opportunity at the beginning of the 2015/16 season to be a first team player. Ely actually started the first game alongside Alessio Romagnoli. He just never quite had what it took to hold down a regular spot. Soon after that, he saw himself go out on loan once again. It was a smart move for Milan to finally sell him on a permanent deal.
Juraj Kucka: Trabzonspor (Permanent)
“Kuco” will definitely be a cult hero with Milan fans. Just like club legend Gennaro Gattuso, Kucka was never the most skilled player on the field, but always the hardest working. The combative midfielder only spent two seasons with the club, but fans will only have positive memories of him and the effort he put in. With Franck Kessie and Lucas Biglia arriving, he would have found it hard getting a significant amount of playing time. He was passionate about the club and there were pictures of him in tears as he left Milanello for that last time.
Leonal Vangioni: Monterrey (Permanent)
Vangioni only spent one season with Milan, and never quite got a chance to prove himself. Towards the end of the season the left back played in a few matches, but Montella never saw him playing a big role in the squad. It was best for him to move on and get regular playing time.
Diego Lopez: Espanyol (Permanent)
Lopez was probably Milan’s best player in the 2014/15 season. Still, when teen-sensation Gigio Donnarumma came onto the scene in October of 2015, Lopez was almost forgotten about. There was a lot of excitement around Lopez when he arrived from Real Madrid, and he did prove his worth. However, once Donnarumma overtook him for the starting keeper, it was only a matter of months before Lopez went out on loan. Moving back to Spain was the best option for him. He is too good of a keeper to be sitting on the bench.
Andrea Poli: Bologna (Permanent)
Poli’s commitment to the team will always be appreciated. He loved the club and left everything he had on the pitch. He never played a big role, and with more skilled midfielders arriving, he would have rarely seen the field. It was best for both parties for him to move on.
M’Baye Niang: Torino (Loan + obligation to buy)
Sadly, Niang will mostly be remembered for his shot that hit the post against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the 2013/14 Champions League Round of 16. That goal would have put Milan up 3-1 on aggregate, and given them the momentum to hold onto their lead. Instead, Barcelona came back from a 2-0 deficit from the first leg and won 4-0 at home to knock Milan out. Niang went out on loan two different times. Both times it was with hopes that he would come back a wiser player. However, that never happened. His poor decision-making and inconsistency drove fans crazy. It will come as a relief to many that he is finally leaving.
Gianluca Lapadula: Genoa (Loan + obligation to buy)
“Lapa-gol” as he was referred to by the fans, Lapadula was as passionate as they come, and adored by the Curva Sud. After a superb season with Pescara in Serie B during the 2015/16 season—where he finished top-scorer—several Serie A sides were trying to lure him in. It was Milan who finally snatched him up. It took him a while to adjust to the top flight, but he began to hold his own. Ending the campaign with 8 goals, Lapadula could always be relied on to put pressure on the opposing team’s back line. His performances during the middle of the season even got him called up to play for the Italian National Team. He was never going to be the star attacker Milan needed. However, he is deserving of the chance to play a big role for a smaller club.
Carlos Bacca: Villarreal (Loan + option to buy)
Bacca had an excellent campaign in the 2015/16 season where he finished with 18 goals. Once Vincenzo Montella took over as coach the following season, there were times when the two did not see eye to eye. Montella even benched Bacca for lashing out against him when the striker was subbed off. He finished the 2016/17 season with a respectable 13 goals. Yet it was evident that he was not the goal-scorer Milan wanted to lead the club forward.
Keisuke Honda: Pachuca (Contract Expired)
Honda’s dedication and hustle must be applauded. He is a true professional, and never complained when he wasn’t getting regular playing time. He arrived from CSKA Moscow in January of 2014 and took the #10 shirt. A fantastic playmaker, he never got to play in the center attacking midfield position he thrived in. Instead, he was used more as a right-winger. If he had gotten to play where he was most comfortable, maybe his time at Milan would have been more successful.
Andrea Bertolacci: Genoa (Loan)
Bertolacci had a stellar season with Genoa in 2014/15. When he came to Milan, however, a string of injuries and a dip in form saw him more on the sidelines than on the pitch. Still, he showed glimpses of what he is capable of last season. Other players did interfere with his getting regular playing time. Hopefully, by going out on loan, he will be able to recover the form he showed before coming to Milan.
Alessandro Plizzari: Ternana (Loan)
Plizzari has the potential to be an excellent keeper, but was never going to get any playing time with Donnarumma ahead of him. It will be beneficial for him to go out on loan to gain some first-team experience. Still only 17-years-old, he must be given time to grow into the keeper he is capable of becoming. Since it is still uncertain if Donnarumma will stick around after this season, it will be important that Milan keep ahold of Plizzari.