My Samp XI v Atalanta: Cassano and Quagliarella are a must
Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano vs Roma.

Sampdoria will play against Atalanta on Sunday and coach Vincenzo Montella needs to make changes.

It is predicted that veteran strikers Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Cassano will start together in attack and hopefully that is the truth. The Blucerchiati need their flair and creativity up front.

Luis Muriel scored goals against Bologna and Torino but he offers little off the ball and Samp haven’t got the midfield to supply him with an abundance of chances. He cannot stay isolated in attack or play off the last defender.

Cassano and Quagliarella

Cassano has usually played well when he has started and he is usually the most creative play in the Doria side. Not all of his passes hit the target but he can create something out of nothing. He has scored just one goal and got four assists but the stats don’t tell the full story.

“Fantantonio” got a rating of 7 in the 2-1 loss to Roma on Sunday night and that was despite being on the field for only 15 minutes. The Giallorossi controlled the game for about 50-60 minutes and then they allowed Samp to play. Once Cassano came on, Il Doria were in control and unlucky not to get a point.

Quagliarella has an opportunity to return to form. He has scored five goals this season but four came in the first four rounds with Torino. At Toro, he was cast aside for Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile. Now with Eder going to Inter, Quagliarella now has the responsibility to score goals at Samp and he also doesn’t have to fight for his spot.

Sampdoria’s play has been predictable for most of the season. Cassano’s dribbling and vision will be important but Montella needs Quagliarella to express himself too. The former Torino striker needs to be able to score the simple goals as well as his spectacular ones.

The Rest of the XI

My ideal Sampdoria XI against Atalanta for Sunday.

Niklas Moisander must be dropped because he has made too many mistakes and he can’t read the game. I am happy to give young Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar a chance because I am fed up with Moisander. Matias Silvestre is solid in defence and can make passes from deep positions.

Pedro Pereira should be playing more. If Walter Zenga gave him a chance and he played well, why doesn’t Montella give him opportunities? Lorenzo De Silvestri has struggled for fitness and Mattia Cassani is past his peak.

Roberto Soriano is better suited playing as a central midfielder than as a trequartista. He has great stamina and pace and he is better off coming from deep positions. It is also better to have more creative players like Cassano and Joaquin Correa playing behind Quagliarella.

Aside from the 3-4-2-1, I would like Montella to consider a 3-5-2 formation. It would involve benching Correa but David Ivan would play in midfield and Cassano and Quagliarella would be the attacking pair.

The Blucerchiati have lost five of their last six Serie A games and it looks like Montella’s possession-based philosophy isn’t working. Now he needs Cassano and Quagliarella; their spark is needed.

Part 5 – Marketing and Goals

I want the Doria family to be a great family again. Italians pride themselves on family values and people in general talk about great families. Juventus has the Agnelli family, Inter had the Moratti family and Samp had the Mantovanis and Garrones. The Doria family must strive for greatness again and we can achieve that through football.

The Doria family was a prominent noble family in the Republic of Genoa from the 12th-16th centuries like the Grimaldi family, who are now based in Monaco. There are Dorias spread around Italy and around the world and Sampdoria should be used to build family pride and reputation again.
La Doria logo. The company specialises in fruit products.

Building up Doria pride is important so we should food companies La Doria and Doria biscuits to be sponsors of the club. Although Doria is owned by Bauli, we should promote the Doria biscuits without necessarily promoting Bauli’s products. We must promote the idea that being a Doria is a sign of greatness: great at food, great at football, great at anything. ‘Doria-style’ shouldn’t just be a football philosophy; it should also be a philosophy of life.
A selection of Doria biscuits.

The Mayor of Genoa Marco Doria has been seen at some games at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris with Samp president Massimo Ferrero but he doesn’t come across as a fanatical supporter of the club. We need Dorias at the club and at the stadium to show greater passion and enthusiasm. If there is a Doria who can contribute to the club financially, that’s even better. It would be amazing if a Doria could play for the club one day and have a successful career.
Marco Doria, the Mayor of Genoa since May 2012.

I want us to produce players for the Azzurri. Italy has a great football history but Italians should always keep making history. Sampdoria should be a part of that. I want Blucerchiati players to be key players for Italy. If not, I want ex-Sampdoria players to be just as influential.

Ex-Genoa players play well against us. When players leave Samp, they should play well against the Grifone. The spirit of Sampdoria must always remain in a player. Once a Doria, always a Doria.

Liverpool fans are known for singing Gerry and the Pacemakers ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before every game and even during games. I want Sampdoria fans to sing ‘Doria Ole!’ by De Scalzi Bros and becoming famous for it. ‘Doria Ole’ isn’t cheesy like most other Italian songs. It sounds anthemic.

We need to show the other Italian clubs that you can challenge for trophies without having the funds that ‘The Big Three’ in Italy have. You just need to be more creative and innovative with the things you do. Spending big money on players does not guarantee success.

Sadly we have to remain a selling club for now but we must have a style of play. With a better recruiting and business model, we can try and retain players and eventually become a club players want to stay at, not just be a stepping stone for football’s giants.

This blueprint is not for everybody but I believe it is need for Sampdoria to progress as a club.


Part 4 – Videos in Line with My Vision

The ‘Doria-style’ has already shown signs of existence but it needs to be brought to life. I want Sampdoria players to have this sort of ambition, audacity and flair. Of course you need to score the simple goals but when the opportunity presents itself, you must take it.

Here are some videos from YouTube. Although these are goal compilations, they show that the flair I want Il Doria to be defined has existed in some way.

Roberto Mancini

Happy days. There aren’t many of his back-heels here but this clip has the best ‘Mancio’ goals from 1982 until 1997. As a player, he was an artist.

His volley against Napoli in 1990 was the clear stand-out but look at his goal against Ancona in the 1992/93 Serie A season. Mancini saw the long pass and despite the defender pulling him down, he still managed to touch the ball and score. He didn’t cry for a penalty at that moment.

Gianluca Vialli

Vialli was a complete attacker and scored some great goals for Il Doria. The stand-outs here are his diving header from the 1991/92 season against Bari, he bicycle kick against Empoli from 1987/88 and his goal against Inter in 1990/91 when he dribbled past Walter Zenga.

Attilio Lombardo

‘Popeye’ was a great right-winger for the Doriani. He had great pace, he was a good crosser and he knew how to great into scoring positions, even with his head.

Francesco Flachi

Here is a compilation of Flachi’s goals and he was a master when it came to scissor kicks and bicycle kicks.

Fabio Quagliarella

Volleys and lobs. He only played one season at Sampdoria but Quagliarella scored outrageous goals. He also scored with a bicycle kick and landed on his feet!

Here is that lob against Chievo in 2007. Phenomenal goal!

Christian Maggio

He played as a right wing-back or right-back at Sampdoria but scored goals like a striker. Naturally I want my defenders to defend first but scoring goals is a great bonus to have.

Daniele Mannini

This goal is from Sampdoria’s 4-1 win against Bologna in the 2009-10 Serie A campaign. Antonio Cassano hit a long pass to Giampaolo Pazzini and he had the co-ordination and vision to pass the ball to Mannini, who volleyed home with great power and accuracy.


Part 3 – Recruiting and Developing Players

Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini arrived at Sampdoria at a young age and became stars.

Although there are some promising youngsters in Italian football, Cesare Prandelli and Antonio Conte have selected oriundi for the Italian national team in recent years. We need to discover young Italians and nurture them. These days, Italian clubs cannot afford to buy the best foreign talent like in the 1980s and 1990s or even before then.

Ideally it would be great to select players from the Sampdoria primavera and rely on players from Genoa and the rest of Liguria. If not, we must find the best young talent in Italy and we shouldn’t discriminate. These players can from the north, central or south of Italy and players from Sicily and Sardinia should be welcome. If we can produce the best young talent in Italy, then we are doing a duty for ourselves and for the bel paese.

We should not discriminate on age. Doesn’t matter if the player is under 25 or under 20, he deserves to play if he is talented enough. Even if he makes one mistake, we must not scrutinise the player. He needs the opportunity to correct his mistakes.

If we look for foreign players, they need to be of exceptional quality. If this is player is experienced, he needs to be a skilful and intelligent player who can give confidence to the youngsters. If we recruit a young foreigner, he must be a player we can improve and potentially sell for a high profit.

We should work with Italy’s youth teams. If there are players in the U-19 or U-21 squads that need more playing time in Serie A, we can try and accommodate them. Sampdoria scouts should also watch the youth leagues and the Viareggio tournament if we are to get the best young talent in Italy.

Experienced players are valuable because they bring knowledge and leadership and they can help the youngsters play with confidence but we cannot be over-reliant on veterans like most Italian teams.

The Doriani have been able to develop quality strikers for more than 30 years. Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini, Enrico Chiesa, Vincenzo Montella, Francesco Flachi, Fabio Bazzani, Fabio Quagliarella, Giampaolo Pazzini, Mauro Icardi, Eder, Stefano Okaka and Manolo Gabbiadini made their Serie A breakthroughs at Sampdoria. The likes of Ruud Gullit and Antonio Cassano also got their careers back on track with Il Doria too. This is proof that we are already a great production line or stepping stone for players but we can improve on this.

We cannot keep selling players for low prices. Regardless if we promote players from the youth academy or buy players at a cheap price, we need to sell players for high profits. Sampdoria should be selling players for double or triple of what it has been doing. We need to keep creating funds for the club so we can maintain the quality staff at the club, especially our players.

Part 2 – Clubs Sampdoria can use as inspiration

At Sampdoria we need to develop our own identity but we can take some inspiration from different clubs. They can be Italian clubs or foreign ones and they can be from the past or present.

Ajax Amsterdam

The Dutch giants showed that you can bring in young talent and win trophies. When they won the European Cup from 1971 to 1973, they bought foreigners like Horst Blankenburg and Velibor Vasovic but they relied predominantly on Dutch youngsters from their youth team. When Ajax won its latest European Cup/UEFA Champions League title in 1995, they relied mostly on young players.

The Dutch focus too much on style though and that has perhaps halted the Netherlands from achieving more titles internationally.


I wouldn’t copy the Barcelona model in the same way the Catalans have followed the Ajax model but Sampdoria can still take inspiration from the blaugrana.

The Catalan club scouts young players from around the world and they were promoting youngsters to the senior squad until recently. Although Barcelona is good at finding young foreign talent, Sampdoria probably should focus more on promoting Italians ahead of foreigners. La Masia is a great youth academy and I want Bogliasco to be just as good if not better.

Barcelona is known as a symbol of Catalan pride and Sampdoria should be known as a symbol of family pride. The Doria family was a prominent family of Genoese nobility in the last millennium and Andrea Doria (1466-1560) was the most famous member of all. It is because of him that there was a club named in his honour, and after merging with Sampierdarenese, both clubs became Sampdoria in 1946. It is because of Andrea Doria and what he achieved in his lifetime that the city of Genoa is known as la superba or ‘the glorious one’.

Every person with the Doria surname around the world should identify themselves with the club. I would go as far as to put the Doria family coat of arms on the team’s jersey.
Doria family coat of arms.

Barcelona’s motto is ‘mes que un club‘ or ‘more than a club’. Former Sampdoria and Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli once said that Juve is like a business and that Samp is like a family. With a name like Sampdoria, it makes sense. If Sampdoria had a motto, it should be ‘una squadra, una famiglia’ or ‘one squad, one family’.

As for playing style, I don’t admire Barca’s style as much as most people do. I like to see more dribbling, long passes and long-range shots. The passing carousel can be tiresome after a while.


The Dragões are known for scouting players and then selling them at high prices. The Portuguese league isn’t a strong one but Porto usually challenges for trophies and they have won two European Cups/UCL titles.


Maurizio Zamparini is a controversial character but the Palermo president gets what he wants. When he wanted big money for Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore and Paulo Dybala, he got the profit he desired.

Unfortunately Sampdoria has been selling players for a lower value than what they are worth. The other clubs buy our players for bargains. When players like Giampaolo Pazzini, Andrea Poli, Manolo Gabbiadini and Pedro Obiang were sold, we sold them for lower than what they were worth.

We need to be similar to Zamparini in the way we sell our key players so we can find quality replacements and keep the books in balance. We don’t need to copy habit for sacking coaches regularly though.


Usually the Neroverdi only have three foreigners on their roster. Despite coming from a town with fewer than 42,000 people, Sassuolo has worked its way up the lower divisions and into Serie A. Most Serie A clubs have half of their squad filled with foreigners but the Neroverdi rely on developing Italian talent.

Other Teams (Past and Present)

From Valeri Lobanovsky and his Dynamo Kyiv and USSR teams, I would take their ability to press opponents, counter-attack at pace, pass hard and shoot harder. From Brazil under Mario Zagallo and Tele Santana, their ability to improvise and have fun. Those teams played jogo bonito. Modern Brazilian teams are too robotic in comparison. From Enzo Bearzot’s Italy, I would take the belief that Italian teams can play good football and win. Watch Italy’s games from early in Argentina ’78 and later in Spain ’82. From Borussia Dortmund, I would take its ability to counter-attack faster than anyone else. From Nottingham Forest, I would use them as inspiration because they won back-to-back European Cups. If a small English club can do it, an Italian club should be able to do likewise. We must break the norm.

Part 1 – ‘Doria-style’: the Ideal Playing Style and Mentality for Us'90-91_campione_d'Italia.jpg
Sampdoria’s scudetto side from 1990/91. Vujadin Boskov’s side were known for its great counter-attacking ability.

These days it is common for non-Italian football people to talk about a football philosophy, especially if they intend to play in an attacking fashion. Fans also want to see an attacking style coupled with results. Football is an entertainment business, not just a sport.

Football fans want to hear that their teams are going to entertain. People like Johan Cruyff and Arrigo Sacchi are idealists who preach their ideas of football and you might not agree with what they say but the press likes hearing stuff like this. The media finds their statements quotable and appealing.

Some people say that you only win friends with good football and that’s why people who play defensively say that they aren’t interesting in making friends. Pleasing our fans comes first but winning neutrals over is important too. You need to make your club appealing and find new supporters for your team.

Sampdoria’s style of play does not need to be defined by a certain formation but by a philosophy. Some styles or philosophies are based around the 4-3-3 formation but I want Sampdoria’s style to be flexible, not to be defined by one formation. We should be able to use a variety of formations.

Historically styles of play or football philosophies have been given names that people remember them by. Ajax and the Netherlands are associated with Total Football, Barcelona and Spain are associated with tiki-taka and even French club Nantes was known for le jeu à la nantaise or the Nantes style of play.

In Italy teams were obviously associated with catenaccio but attacking teams have had nicknames associated with them. Zdenek Zeman’s ultra-attacking Foggia side of the 1990s is known for Zemanlandia and his future teams usually got that tag too. Arrigo Sacchi was known for his compact 4-4-2 formation at AC Milan and teams that use that system and press a lot are known for following the scuola sacchiana or ‘Sacchi school’. Juventus is known for lo stile Juve or ‘the Juve style’ but that relates more to a winning mentality than a style of play.

Sampdoria should become known for ‘lo stile doriano’ or ‘the Doria-style’. We should be able to play possession football but also be good at counter-attacking. We must be able to score from open play and also score from set-pieces. The Doriani must be able to balance style and substance because everything we do must serve a purpose. Sampdoria teams should be able to play their game but also adapt to circumstance.

‘Doria-style’ must move away from the stereotypical cautiousness and pragmatism of Italian football. It is important to show our skills and intelligence and we should win by as many goals as possible. Sampdoria must win in style and not show mercy unless we are at least four goals up and they have had a play sent-off. We cannot afford to give the opposition any opportunities to make comebacks. Non-Italian teams don’t show mercy on opponents and Italian teams have suffered huge defeats in European competitions in the past. Why should we show mercy if others don’t?

Sampdoria must promote the concept of bel gioco or ‘beautiful play’. ‘Doria-style’ should essentially be another term for bel gioco and prove to Italian teams that you be successful and be entertaining. We must encourage other Italian teams to stop pacing themselves and playing cautiously. It gives the players an excuse to be lazy. It can also build-up fear. Teams need to be more proactive so they don’t get stuck in first gear. Variation in tempo is important but slow and sluggish is not the answer. Slow-tempo football can only succeed if there is a great reliance on intelligence and technique.

Italy has always produced technically gifted players, even in the dark days of 1950s when calcio was still recovering from the demise of ‘Il Grande Torino’ and there was an over-reliance on oriundi. Italian coaches have a tendency to coach certain skills out of players and place too much emphasis on tactics. Italian players must treat the ball as a friend and they must have confidence to express themselves. Defensive football should be used by football minnows because Italy produces too many flair players to just sit on 1-0 leads.

We won’t discard defending though. We still need to do the basics and keep a good defensive structure. Pressing, intercepting and staying compact when we don’t have the ball are important things. As appealing as attacking defenders are, defenders still need to know how to defend and win one-on-one battles.

The club must live by three sayings:

“To see Sampdoria play is like listening to beautiful music.” – Vujadin Boskov

The first saying is basically ‘Doria-style’ in a nutshell. Watching Sampdoria should always be a pleasure to watch.

“Who does not shoot on target does not score.” – Vujadin Boskov

I don’t like teams who pass the ball into the net or players that are scared to shoot. Regardless of the angle or distance or which position he plays in, a Sampdoria player must back his chances to score.

“We have to play first as men and then as players.” – Sinisa Mihajlovic

Courage is an important quality to have. Reiterating what I said earlier, anyone who wears a Sampdoria jersey must not fear any opponent.

A Sampdoria squad must not fear anyone regardless of how strong the opposition is. I prefer to have attack an opponent and lose than play defensive and still lose. Obviously it is better than we win and that must always be the intention. If we approach an opponent with fear, we might as well forfeit the game.

How Would I Select This Current Roma XI?

My choice of players in Spalletti’s 4-2-3-1.

Luciano Spalletti is back as Roma coach after spending time coaching in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg.

He has replaced Rudi Garcia, who rigidly stuck to his 4-3-3 formation and it did not bring out the best out the squad at his disposal. Spalletti’s 4-2-3-1 should help this Giallorossi side regain form and confidence.

This starting 11 is not what I think Spalletti will use but it is a team I believe that would fit nicely into the Tuscan’s tactics.

Although I have not been too impressed with Wojciech Szczesny’s spell at Roma, I prefer to keep him in goal instead of bringing back in Morgan De Sanctis. De Sanctis is too error-prone and he should consider retirement.

Maicon is not the force he once was but he is a natural right-back and he suits the role better than Alessandro Florenzi. Kostas Manolas and Leandro Castan form my central defensive pairing and I would bench Antonio Rudiger because I don’t think he is good enough for Roma. Lucas Digne stays at left-back.

My two central midfielders are Radja Nainggolan and Daniele De Rossi. Both players can break-up opposition attacks and start attacks for their own team. On some occasions, I would move De Rossi into defence in place of Leandro Castan and Seydou Keita would slot into midfield.

Mohamed Salah stays on the right-wing for me. He has to play deeper in this formation than he normally would but he would have more room dribble.

Miralem Pjanic has the most to gain out of this coaching change. He has been a fine performer in midfield in Garcia’s 4-3-3 but he is naturally a trequartista. Playing as a #10 in the 4-2-3-1 will suit his characteristics and he should be able to create a better link for the midfield and attack. The system change should also help him score more goals in open play.

Florenzi is a versatile player and he is comfortable on either flank. He has been placed at left-wing in order to accommodate Maicon and Salah.

Edin Dzeko has been a massive disappointment so in the lone striker role, I would be happy to persist with Nigerian youngster Sadiq Umar. He is scoring and he shows that he wants to play at the highest level.

Roma host Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon CET and this line-up could be good for this match and the next few games. I would not expect to finish the season with this formation though.

Kevin Strootman has been battling injuries after an impressive first season with the Giallorossi but if he is fully fit, he could form an excellent midfield partnership with Nainggolan. If Strootman returned, I would move De Rossi in defence alongside Manolas.

Dzeko has not been prolific since arriving in Italy but he might play better in Spalletti’s system with Pjanic closer to him. They have played together numerous times in the Bosnian national team so the duo should develop a better understanding on the pitch.

If Strootman and Dzeko can play well, it would be great for this Roma side. For now an 11 like in the diagram is worth a try.

Who Should Sampdoria Go For in January?


Calcio: Serie A, torna campionato, martedì derby Genoa-Samp
Sampdoria coach Vincenzo Montella (Image: Gazzetta World).

Sampdoria needs to make some moves in the January transfer window. The Blucerchiati are 13th on the Serie A table and they need to add more quality to the roster for the second half of the season.

Results have improved in recent weeks with the 2-0 win against Palermo, the 3-2 win in the Derby della Lanterna against Genoa and a gallant 2-1 defeat against Juventus. There have been some players improving their form but the roster is still thin.

Here is a list of players that have been linked with Sampdoria and what difference they can make.

Andrea Ranocchia

Niklas Moisander has been a massive flop at centre-back and Ranocchia is a bench player at Inter. The former Nerazzurri captain still gets selected by Antonio Conte for the Italy squad so a move to Sampdoria would do his chances of Euro 2016 action a world of good. Ranocchia’s style would suit Vincenzo Montella’s tactics and he can play the ball out of defence.

Daniele Rugani

A star at Empoli last season but hardly utilised at Juventus this season. The 21-year-old needs more experience to develop and despite his age he is better than what Samp have now in defence.

Ivan Strinic

Formerly a regular in the Croatian national team, Strinic plays second fiddle to Algerian left-back Faouzi Ghoulam at Napoli. Sampdoria president wanted to swap Vasco Regini for the Croatian international but a move failed to materialise. He is another player who might need to find space at club level if he wants to play at Euro 2016, he would be an upgrade on Regini or Ervin Zukanovic.

Davide Santon

He was expected to be the next Giacinto Facchetti but his career has dropped off since making his breakthrough under Jose Mourinho at Inter. Expectations will be lower at Sampdoria and his qualities could shine once again for the Doriani.

Yuto Nagatomo

The Japanese international was linked with Samp in the summer but don’t rule a move out because Inter looks keen to offload defenders. He is versatile and fast so he can still be an excellent addition for the Blucerchiati even at 29 years old.

David Pizarro

The Chilean veteran has had great experience playing in Italy and he played under Montella at Fiorentina. Although he is 36 years old and plays for Santiago Wanderers, his technique and vision can still be an asset at Sampdoria despite his languid style of play.

Alberto Aquilani

He is another midfielder who played under Montella at Fiorentina. His €2 million per season wage is a drawback but he suits Montella’s possession-based philosophy. He scored a hat-trick once against Genoa for the Viola so that alone can also appeal to Samp fans.

Simone Zaza

Another player who needs playing time before Euro 2016. Despite being a super-sub for the Bianconeri, Massimiliano Allegri still prefers to start an out of form Alvaro Morata over Zaza. Blucerchiati fans hate that he left Samp for Sassuolo but he is now a player capable of finishing the chances Antonio Cassano and co create.

Manolo Gabbiadini

Ferrero should not have sold him in the first place. Gabbiadini is a free-kick specialist and he can play anywhere in a forward trident. Antonio Conte is short on in-form strikers for the Italy team so a move back to Il Doria can help the 24-year-old regain form and confidence.

Giuseppe Rossi

Injuries count against him. I would organise a no play, no pay agreement if he arrived. If Rossi is fit, he can be a great bargain because of his skill, determination and scoring ability. He combined well with Antonio Cassano in the early days of Cesare Prandelli’s tenure as Italy coach.

AC Milan needs a January clean-up


Another week, another disappointing result.

AC Milan has been struggling for consistency this season. Impressive wins have usually been followed by draws or losses against weak opposition. After thrashing Sampdoria 4-1, the Rossoneri have drawn 0-0 against Carpi and 1-1 against Hellas Verona.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s coaching has been put into question, and there has been speculation of him being sacked during the season, even in his first campaign on the AC Milan bench.

Mihajlovic is the Rossoneri’s fifth coach in two years but changing coaches has not provided the desired effect for Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi. Even if Mihajlovic doesn’t bring back the glory days for AC Milan, the squad still needs cleaning up regardless of who is coaching them now.

So who needs to go?

Christian Abbiati

Now the veteran is the third-choice goalkeeper behind Gianluigi Donnarumma and Diego Lopez. He might be happy to warm the bench and get a big paycheck but he needs to leave if he wants to play. Former teammate Gennaro Gattuso is coaching Pisa and he believes that Abbiati could get the Tuscan side into Serie B.

Rodrigo Ely

The Brazilian centre-back was good at Avellino but he has struggled in Serie A. He could be loaned out to Genoa for more experience in Italy’s top flight.

Philippe Mexes

At one stage, he was earning €4 million per season. Mexes is a tough defender who can score the own goal but his lack of pace is one of his biggest weaknesses. Mihajlovic doesn’t play him so he is better off moving to a small team where he can play regularly or try a club from a weaker league who can give him a big paycheck.

Cristian Zapata

The Colombian international played his best football at Udinese and had a loan spell at Villarreal in Spain. He has been woeful with the Rossoneri for four seasons so perhaps he’s better off being a big fish in a little pond.

Ignazio Abate

At 29-years-old he hasn’t got much football left in him. Despite being capped 22 times for Italy, he is a player that usually struggles to find consistency and fitness. AC Milan has Davide Calabria and Mattia De Sciglio, who are younger right-backs so the club doesn’t need a third one hanging around.

Nigel De Jong

Although he could have left during the summer, De Jong stayed on and perhaps he is regretting it now. EPL club Leicester City is interested in him and his style might be better suited to the English game. Defensive midfielders with limited technical ability aren’t required in Italy these days.

Andrea Poli

Another player who fits the big fish in a little pond tag. At Sampdoria he played as a regista but at the Rossoneri he can’t find a role that suits him. He flopped at Inter too so perhaps Poli should think small instead of big.

Jose Mauri

Mihajlovic has given opportunities to youngsters this season but Mauri can’t break into the Milan starting line-up. A loan spell for the 19-year-old is likely, with Bologna and Atalanta having been linked with the central midfielder.

Antonio Nocerino

Although he was a regular under Massimiliano Allegri, Nocerino has not played regularly under another coaches at AC Milan. Last season he was loaned out to Torino and then Parma and he could be off to Sampdoria in January next year.

Keisuke Honda

The Japanese international plays his best football as an attacking midfielder but AC Milan coaches have tried to convert him into an inverted right-winger. Honda was linked with Spanish club Valencia but apparently he could stay in Milan. He should leave so he can play in his proper position and recapture his best form.


The Spanish youngster is a promising attacking midfielder but he needs to gain experience to fulfil his potential. Suso has not made the most of his time with the Rossoneri so perhaps taking a page out of Riccardo Saponara’s book and moving to a small club might bring the best out of him. Genoa has been linked with the former Liverpool player.



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