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After a series of goodbyes over the past week, now is the time for the Rossoneri to make real plans for the months ahead, bringing in a host of new players

ANALYSIS
By Flavio Sirna

Last Sunday's fixture against Novara was an extremely emotional occasion for all AC Milan fans as they waved goodbye to a number of mainstays of the Rossoneri set-up. Now, after the tears, comes the reality. And the reality is that the 2012-13 season will see them send out a very different squad to the one the supporters are used to seeing. It just remains to be seen exactly who the reinforcements will be.

This season, coach Massimiliano Allegri had a squad of 31 players at his disposal, made up of three goalkeepers, nine defenders, 12 midfielders and seven forwards.

MILAN SQUAD 2011-12
GOALKEEPERS
Abbiati
Amelia
Roma
DEFENDERS
Abate
Antonini
Bonera
De Sciglio
Mexes
Mesbah
Nesta
Thiago Silva
Yepes
Zambrotta
MIDFIELDERS
Ambrosini
Aquilani
Boateng
Emanuelson
Flamini
Gattuso
Merkel
Muntari
Nocerino
Seedorf
Strasser
Van Bommel
FORWARDS
Cassano
El Shaarawy
Ibrahimovic
Inzaghi
Maxi Lopez
Pato
Robinho

In goal, for largely economic reasons, the confirmation of Christian Abbiati as first choice seems certain, although he will be on an expiring contract. Marco Amelia will also stay put, unless an offer arrives which will see the former Palermo shot-stopper promoted to a regular starting role. With Flavio Roma exiting, the third spot is open to question.

Things start to get really worrying when looking at the defence. Should Thiago Silva leave, it would represent a monumental loss to a side still harbouring hopes of success in the Champions League. The future of the Brazilian is made all the more vital by the departure of Alessandro Nesta and the inability of Philippe Mexes to plug the gap left by the former Italy international. The ex-Roma man has yet to really prove he can fulfill a role for one of the world's leading clubs. Daniele Bonera and Mario Yepes are available, but only in backup roles, which is the most that should be expected of players of their calibre.

At full-back, Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini will remain, but Gianluca Zambrotta is departing. The progress of youth team product Mattia De Sciglio bodes well for the future, and he could even make his way ahead of the older Antonini in the pecking order during the course of 2012-13. There is also Djamel Mesbah, but the ex-Lecce player has struggled as both a left-back and a midfielder since arriving in the more demanding surroundings of Milanello.

If there's a gap in defence due to the departure of Nesta, a veritable chasm has opened up in midfield following the farewells bade by Gennaro Gattuso and Mark van Bommel. Add in the almost guaranteed exits of Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani and Mathieu Flamini, and there could be real trouble on the horizon. The Frenchman at least could stay on, given that only Massimo Ambrosini, Urby Emanuelson, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino would otherwise remain of the current squad. The next steps for Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser are not yet known.

The good news in the centre is that Allegri has already confirmed two arrivals. Riccardo Montolivo will join from Fiorentina - presumably to act as a direct replacement for Aquilani - while Nancy's Bakaye Traore will also don the red and black for the first time. Traore, however, could be used as a sweetener in a player trade later in the summer, so his full value is not yet clear.

Considering that Milan had a dozen midfielders to choose from this season, the outlook currently appears much less promising, meaning at least three more additions must be made before August 31.

Even in attack the scenario could change significantly. With Filippo Inzaghi now gone, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxi Lopez, whose future is uncertain, can claim to be target men. As for the other forwards in the squad, only Stephan El Shaarawy and Antonio Cassano appear certain of retaining the Milan jersey next season.

The futures of Alexandre Pato and Robinho are both up for serious discussion, and assuming Maxi Lopez leaves and one of the Brazilian pair are ousted, it will take at least three further attacking additions to level the playing field.

With all of the gaps considered, it appears that a huge rebuilding exercise must be carried out, with around 10 or 11 new signings necessary to plug the holes left behind by the recent mass exodus and the outgoings still to come.

MILAN SQUAD 2012-13
GOALKEEPERS
Abbiati
Amelia
Vacancy
DEFENDERS
Abate
Antonini
Bonera
De Sciglio
Mexes
Mesbah?
Thiago Silva
Yepes
Vacancy
Vacancy
Vacancy

MIDFIELDERS
Ambrosini
Aquilani?
Boateng
Emanuelson
Flamini
Merkel?
Montolivo
Muntari
Nocerino
Strasser?
Vacancy
Vacancy
FORWARDS
Cassano
El Shaarawy
Ibrahimovic
Maxi Lopez?
Pato?
Robinho?
Vacancy


In goal, it may be worth handing a chance to 21-year-old former Primavera keeper Antonio Donnarumma, who has spent the past season on loan at Gubbio. Along the back line, though, there are much clearer ideas in terms of potential resolutions. While it would be difficult for the Rossoneri to bring in truly world class defenders, there is some wheeling and dealing expected.

Francesco Acerbi has won many admirers this term with Chievo, and a move for the ex-Reggina centre-back is highly likely, while Fiorentina's Cesare Natali could arrive on a free to provide significant backup. It remains to be seen what moves could be made at full-back, however, with Milan on the lookout for a player ready to step straight into the first team.

After the error made in releasing Andrea Pirlo, Allegri has seemingly been persuaded to add more proven quality to his midfield. Montolivo represents a step in the right direction, but he isn't a final solution by any means. In view of the forthcoming Euro 2012, there could well be avenues opening up for a suitable but inexpensive option. Nuri Sahin, who has been virtually forgotten at Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, or Frank Lampard, whose Chelsea contract expires next summer, could become realistic targets.

Finally, up front, there is a need for multiple new personnel. Should one of Pato and Robinho depart, Milan will need a second, more mobile striker, with everything pointing towards a market assault for either Carlos Tevez or Mario Balotelli. The focus would then switch to a vice-Ibrahimovic in order to allow the Swede, who turns 31 in October, to take a breather from time to time.

The names of potential targets are endless, but what is certain is that the Rossoneri need to add both quality and quantity. If they don't, then more belly-aching from Ibrahimovic may well be on the horizon.

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