For all the talk of new arrivals and potential exits this summer, it’ll feel like Milan are getting a pair of new signings when Giacomo Bonaventura and Mattia Caldara return from injury.
Both have endured a miserable 12 months, longer in the case of the former, as they were severely limited last season due to ongoing issues.
Bonaventura’s campaign came to an end in October as he eventually required knee surgery, while Caldara was limited to just two appearances for the Rossoneri largely due to a ruptured Achilles tendon before suffering a cruciate ligament injury to rub salt into the wound.
Sadly, the first thing that must be hoped is that the pair can come back from those injuries the same players, and perhaps even better if possible.
At 25 years of age, Caldara still has time on his side as we continue to wait to see his potential partnership with Alessio Romagnoli blossom in the heart of the Milan defence. In contrast, Bonaventura turns 30 in August and is entering the final year of his current contract.
Latest injury updates
There is positive news heading into pre-season training though, as MilanNews.it note that the midfield ace is expected to be ready for the start of the new campaign, and having gone through early tests at Milanello last week, we may even get a glimpse of him in the friendlies as he tries to build up his match fitness.
As for Caldara, MilanLive.it suggest that the centre-half isn’t expected back until late October, but he was also present at Milanello and it has been reported that he’s on track to make a full recovery and the rehabilitation process is going as planned currently, as per MilanNews.
Having seen Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata, Riccardo Montolivo, Jose Mauri, Andrea Bertolacci and Tiemoue Bakayoko all leave the club this summer, the defence and midfield are obvious areas in which Marco Giampaolo will be looking to bring in reinforcements before the season gets underway.
With that in mind, both Caldara and Bonaventura are likely to face serious competition for a starting berth when they return from their respective injury issues.
Nevertheless, while the priority for now has to be getting back to full fitness and regaining match sharpness to compete for a place in the XI while avoiding any further setbacks, there is still a sense that both players have a pivotal role to play for Milan moving forward.
Why pair can still play crucial role…
Whether it’s Caldara’s defensive solidity coupled with his composure on the ball which will suit Giampaolo’s style and system perfectly, to Bonaventura’s versatility and technical quality as well as his threat in front of goal which was sorely missed last season.
The Italian duo are undoubtedly crucial for the Rossoneri, and even if question marks remain over their fitness and risk of injury, they certainly add quality depth to the squad at the very least.
There is genuine concern over Bonaventura’s influence moving forward given his age and problems in recent years, but having carried Milan for so long after his move from Atalanta, there would be few better sights than seeing him dazzle at San Siro again and scoring crucial goals for us next season.
Caldara’s talent and potential still can’t be questioned, and given his characteristics, he seems like an ideal fit to play alongside Romagnoli for the long-term future.
In turn, it’s hoped that if a new defender arrives, it’s with a view of battling alongside Mateo Musacchio as cover options, and that Giampaolo will trust Caldara to return midway through the season and begin to show why so many Milan fans were thrilled over the deal which brought him to us in the first place.
Time will tell if they can put their respective injury nightmares behind them, but if they can, they are more than capable of giving Milan a major boost coupled with potential reinforcements that will arrive. That in turn could be the difference in bridging the gap to our rivals in Serie A next season.