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How AC Milan Must Now Build For The Future

Financial restrictions and bit-part players make the task difficult.

After their Champions League exit on Tuesday night further compounded what has been a miserable season this year, AC Milan must now drop their short-term approach and start to build for the future if they are to climb back to the top of European football.

With the Financial Fair Play regulations making their situation more difficult, the Rossoneri have been unable to fall back on owner Silvio Berlusconi’s lavish investment for some time, which has in turn forced them to rethink their strategy in the transfer market.

While the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were sold to help balance the books, veterans and club icons retired to leave the Italian giant in a precarious situation.

It was one that they were initially able to come through under the stewardship of Massimiliano Allegri as Champions League football was secured on the last day of the season a year ago, yet with Clarence Seedorf now at the helm there are questions over whether or not they will take part in European football at any level next year.

For too long Milan have put together what they can with limited resources,  patching together a squad with loan deals and free transfers involving predominantly older players that know how to play a role.

While experience is a key commodity to have, it is not something that the Rossoneri can rely on alone if they are to start a new cycle of success, and Seedorf must now take the opportunity to assess his squad and rebuild.

Almost 18 months ago the club promised its supporters that they would build within and rely on promoting youth through their system. Barbara Berlusconi, who had spent time studying how the likes of Bayern Munich were run, insisted that it was the most efficient way of building the club whilst also exploiting commercial avenues to improve finances.

However, Milan appear to have lost their way in the last year, signing the likes of Alessandro Matri and Michael Essien, which in turn pushed promising youngsters such as Andrea Petagna and Bryan Cristante further down the pecking order.

It is questionable as to how the club’s management have not yet seen a pattern emerge given the impressive nature of how both Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio have flourished in the first team, and Cristante to an extent can be included in that list.

Contracts and loyalty will inevitably play a part in decision making from now through to the end of the summer pre-season schedule, while the club will find it difficult to move players such as Philippe Mexes and Robinho who are on sizeable deals.

However, it is essential that Milan see this season as a wake-up call and understand what is required to become successful again. Sean Sogliano has been touted as a possible future director of football, following on from his impressive work around Italy and currently with Hellas Verona.

That decision will arguably be the most important this summer, as along with the Berlusconi family, Adriano Galliani and Seedorf, they must all agree on a new direction and stick to it, and it most certainly has to revolve around youth.

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