With the transfer market now closed until January, the focus is on results on the pitch and how Milan make progress under Marco Giampaolo in the coming months.
The 52-year-old has been given reinforcements who arguably suit his needs and ideas better than those that were let go to allow him to stamp his mark on the squad.
In turn, positive results are now expected and while time and patience will be needed to perhaps see the best of this Milan as Giampaolo continues to implement his preferred style and brand of football, there will be little room for mistakes and setbacks in our pursuit of a top-four finish.
Off the field though, there are still certain matters that must be addressed and sorted out. Namely contract renewals for key figures, specifically Gianluigi Donnarumma and Giacomo Bonaventura.
Both are prominent issues for Milan, as noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, with Bonaventura’s current deal expiring at the end of this season, and although Donnarumma’s runs until June 2021, we don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we’re in the last 12 months of his contract and the threat of losing him for nothing becomes a concern.
Bonaventura can still be a key figure; on one condition
After arriving from Atalanta in 2014, Bonaventura has at times single-handedly dragged us out of some desperate situations with his quality and commitment.
There is no doubting that he has been a pivotal player for Milan over recent years, and with 31 goals and 16 assists in 152 appearances for the Rossoneri, he had been one of our most consistent performers.
However, he’s been blighted by injuries in more recent times and that has subsequently led to those figures slowing down as he has had to consistently battle back from long-term setbacks, the last of which has kept him out since last October.
Nevertheless, he made an impressive, albeit brief, appearance in pre-season as he continues to step up his recovery, and it’s hoped that firstly he can get back on the pitch and play consistently without suffering any further issues.
Importantly now though, time will tell whether or not those injuries have taken their toll and whether or not Bonaventura can either rediscover his form prior to those problems, or can perhaps tweak his game to maximise his qualities and adjust accordingly.
With that in mind, Milan have to be patient in contract renewal talks, as they’ll need to see the right signs from him in training and on the pitch to determine whether or not he can not only steer clear of injuries, but also prove he’s still able to provide the quality needed at the highest level.
If he can tick those boxes, then it would seem like a no-brainer to secure a renewal. If not though, then the situation becomes more complicated and perhaps a difficult decision will need to be taken.
Donnarumma must be kept; Raiola issue again?
Still only 20 years of age, Donnarumma has already made 166 appearances for Milan and has established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in Europe.
Although he’s shown an impressive level of maturity and composure throughout his short career thus far, the signs of improvement have continued this season and he looks calmer and more sure of himself and his decision-making.
With such a long way to go in his career, there is no doubt that he will continue to develop and get better with experience, and with that in mind as well as his importance to the team right now, Milan must secure his long-term future if there is no financial necessity to sell him to raise funds.
As per MilanNews, it’s stressed that Donnarumma’s desire has always been to stay with Milan, even this past summer during which he was linked with an exit yet again.
However, it’s added that while Milan intend on opening contract talks to avoid a problematic scenario in which he would enter the final 12 months of his current deal, much will depend on his agent, Mino Raiola, and his influence in negotiations.
It remains to be seen whether or not a salary increase is in line with the financial measures that the club will have put in place since the issues with FFP began, as that could be a potential problem.
However, if Milan have the financial capability, it’s about keeping the best players at the club and building for a successful future. Donnarumma will certainly play his part in taking us forward and so it’s hoped that a contract renewal can be agreed, ideally with the idea of keeping him at the club for years to come.
In reality though, it could also be a strategy to strengthen our position with a long-term deal in order to demand a huge fee if opting to sell in the future.