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The Italy international asked the club for a move after seeing his hopes of taking part in a Scudetto-challenging season shattered by the departures of the Rossoneri's best players

ANALYSIS
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer

Very few AC Milan fans who took to Twitter after the first talk of a swap deal with Inter involving Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano did so to celebrate the latest news coming out of Milanello.  Almost to a man, the Rossoneri faithful have seen the imminent loss of Cassano as just another bad joke in a torrid summer at the club, with a Scudetto-winning squad having become a skeleton of itself in a 12-month period.

After the release of club emblems such as Alessandro Nesta, Filippo Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf, there was already going to be a very different look about the Diavolo in 2012-13, but the decision to sell Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain has left Cassano wondering why he should bother hanging around.

CASSANO AT MILAN

 2010-11
SERIE A APPEARANCES/GOALS
COPPA ITALIA
TOTAL
17/4
4/0
21/4
 2011-12
SERIE A
COPPA ITALIA
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
SUPERCOPPA ITALIANA
TOTAL
16/3
0/0
3/1
0/0
19/4

Much like the Swede, Cassano was quick to salute the initial decision by Silvio Berlusconi to block Thiago Silva’s switch to France and offer the Brazilian a new five-year contract, telling reporters: "I'm happy Thiago will be remaining at Milan next season. It was an obvious act of love to the club by the president."

The former Sampdoria man’s words came just two days after Ibrahimovic had claimed: “Milan are a club that wants to win and invest, it’s a club that’s at the top and wants to be there. They want to continue winning and they will continue to win, if you want to do that, you keep Thiago Silva.”

However, the defender was soon on his way to the Parc des Princes, forced out by Milan’s need to recoup money in the transfer market. And in doing so, the club had given two of their key forwards a golden invitation to walk away too. Ibra did so within weeks, and now Cassano, buoyed by his summer showing for Italy after overcoming serious heart trouble, is set to cross the city in a bid to seek out a club demonstrating greater ambition.

“Cassano is leaving Milan because he feels the team is not as strong as before,” says Goal.com Italy chief editor Vittorio Campanile. “He arrived thinking he could win the Scudetto and fight for the Champions League, and now he finds a team who face a real battle for the third place in Italy.

“He didn't expect Milan to sell Ibra and Thiago Silva, and he believes the team has no chance of winning anything this season. He is not happy and talked about it with Adriano Galliani. He is 30 now and can't wait for Milan to become strong again.”

But it is not only his wish to challenge for honours that has forced him out of the red half of San Siro, according to Goal.com Italy deputy editor Sergio Chesi.

“Two factors have made up his mind: disappointment with Milan’s transfer strategy (as he revealed in public during Euro 2012) and conflict with Massimiliano Allegri. It is not even because he wanted to be a regular in the first team, but because of a bad relationship with the coach.”

PAZZINI AT INTER

 2010-11
SERIE A APPEARANCES/GOALS
COPPA ITALIA
TOTAL
17/11
3/0
20/11
 2011-12
SERIE A
COPPA ITALIA
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
SUPERCOPPA ITALIANA
TOTAL
33/5
0/0
6/3
1/0
40/8

Cassano is not the first player to depart this summer who has had his troubles with Allegri either. "The reason why Nesta and I left is because we got the feeling that we were no longer needed by Allegri," Gattuso said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport last month.

"When your boss makes it clear that he prefers you as a coach or as a helping hand in the dressing room, the time has come to leave.”

It says little for the Rossoneri that Cassano should want to join their city rivals after the struggles the Nerazzurri endured last season. The fact that many Interisti have welcomed the potential move says much about who will be getting the better deal once it has gone through. Especially as Milan will be reportedly handing over €7 million plus Cassano for Pazzini.

It is true that Pazzini can, on his day, be a sharpshooter of real quality. He demonstrated in his first four months at Inter that he can score goals at regular intervals if he is provided with the service he craves. However, he has also shown since the sale of Samuel Eto’o that he can struggle to get anywhere near the target if he is asked to adapt to the team’s needs.

He could well prove to be just what Milan require having lost the services of Ibrahimovic, but altogether more likely is Cassano slotting straight in at Appiano Gentile as though he’s played for the club for years. His style is much more adaptable from club to club, and he should suit Andrea Stramaccioni’s plans without much fuss.

It really is incredible what an effect one single decision can have. In telling the world Thiago Silva was staying, Milan raised the hopes of their players as well as their fans, but in selling him they encouraged others to move. Now they are left gambling on players like Pazzini coming good, and their hopes of finishing in the top three of Serie A are in major jeopardy as a result.

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