Remember the days when AC Milan used to buy everyone else’s best players? When teams all over Europe were powerless to prevent Silvio Berlusconi’s chequebook from luring away superstars such as Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Dejan Savicevic.
Those days are long gone and the Rossoneri’s transfer activity over the last week, which has seen Michael Essien arrive from Chelsea and Adel Taarabt from QPR, is just further evidence of Milan swooping for expendable players.
Indeed, the Italian giants have signed so many footballers discarded from other clubs over the past five or six years that you can make a whole XI out of them. And that is without counting established stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Balotelli and Nigel de Jong, who were also on the market but are not included because they were still playing at the top level.
In goal, we have Flavio Roma who had played just four times for Monaco the season prior to joining Milan in 2009. At right-back is Essien, who arrived this week from Chelsea on an 18-month contract having made just two Premier League starts this term. In the other full-back slot, Kevin Constant just edges Gianluca Zambrotta. The Guinean international couldn't nail down a place at Genoa before moving to the Giuseppe Meazza.
At centre back, we have another ex-Juventino in Nicola Legrottaglie who joined Milan on a free transfer in January 2011 after falling way down the pecking order in Turin. Legrottaglie made just one appearance before departing San Siro. Philippe Senderos had lost his starting place at Arsenal and became something of a figure of fun in England before signing for Milan on a one-year loan in 2008. He failed to impress.
In midfield we have Valter Birsa – a somewhat bizarre purchase from Genoa last summer. The Slovenian had struggled for game time both at Genoa and on loan the previous campaign at Torino. Thursday's loan capture Taraabt joins Birsa in midfield, despite having started just seven Premier League games in 2013-14 at Fulham. Kaka completes the midfield jigsaw after returning on a free transfer from Real Madrid. The Brazilian has impressed in Italy's fashion capital, but Madrid had long been desperate to discard him.
The three-pronged attack consists of Alessandro Matri, Robinho and Amantino Mancini. Matri had dropped to fourth choice in the Juventus attack when Milan shelled out €11 million on him last summer. He scored just one goal before being loaned out to Fiorentina this month. Robinho failed to score in the league for Manchester City and was loaned out to Santos the season before joining the Rossoneri in 2010. The final shirt goes to Mancini, who had endured an 18-month nightmare at Inter when he was snapped up by Milan on loan in January 2010. The former Roma winger made just seven appearances without scoring and Adriano Galliani turned down the opportunity to sign him permanently at the end of the campaign.