Milan have some important decisions to make at the end of the season, and a senior trio in particular will be at the forefront of their planning this summer.
The Rossoneri have an option to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stay for another year, while they can turn Simon Kjaer’s loan spell into a permanent switch. Further, Giacomo Bonaventura’s current deal expires at the end of the season, and so a decision will be needed on whether or not a renewal will be offered.
While it’s very exciting to target top young talents and build for the long-term future, you need a balance with experienced individuals in the squad too. Just look at the difference Kjaer and Ibrahimovic have made at either end of the pitch since they joined us in January.
Allow these three to leave, where is the experience? Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Hakan Calhanoglu and others are certainly growing into those roles, but should we move the trio in question on this summer or make them part of our plans for one more season at least?
In the 11 games he’s featured in since January, Milan have won eight, drawn two and lost just once. The 31-year-old has brought a physical presence, calmness, leadership and organisation to our backline and there is undoubtedly a solid partnership blossoming between him and Romagnoli.
Injuries have been a problem and it’s hoped that he can stay fit for the remainder of the campaign, but we’ve seen enough reliability and quality to suggest that we should make his move permanent, with the club’s official site noting we have an option to do so.
With Leo Duarte struggling with injury problems of his own, Mateo Musacchio sidelined for several months after undergoing ankle surgery while also monitoring his own future given his contract expires in 2021 and Matteo Gabbia still looking a little too inexperienced at the top level, keeping Kjaer makes sense for various reasons as we will need quality depth at the very least to compete on multiple fronts.
It’s been a mixed bag from the 30-year-old since the restart, as he scored and looked good against Lecce before a quick turnaround contributed to him looking jaded and past his best against Roma.
Injuries have taken their toll on him and competition is building, but as we saw with his assist for Ante Rebic’s goal at Lazio and the intelligent play he provides as we build our attacks, there is still a role for Bonaventura to play even if not as a regular starter anymore.
We need depth and he can provide that, but ultimately this could come down to the two parties reaching an agreement on a fair wage that works for both, and that could mean Bonaventura accepting a pay cut to stay.
Five goals and two assists in 12 games since his return, the 38-year-old has arguably exceeded expectations as there was a degree of uncertainty at least over how much he still had left to offer at this level.
He’s shown leadership, class and mentor-like qualities for others in the squad in the last five months or so, and his presence in the squad has been integral to our turnaround since the start of the calendar year.
As per the club’s site, we have an option in his current deal to keep him at San Siro for another 12 months. With Rafael Leao still coming along and others still searching for consistency while disregarding any potential arrivals this summer, Ibrahimovic’s contribution could be crucial for another year.
As noted above, these decisions could all come down to what makes financial sense if all three are keen to stay on. If the numbers add up and all concerned are happy, it could be argued that this trio could all have a role to play moving forward to ensure we strike the necessary balance between talented potential and experienced heads who have been there and done it before to help guide the former.