Why Milan face crucial decision as summer exit edges closer

Throughout our struggles in recent years, Giacomo Bonaventura has for the most part been one of the most reliable and influential figures for Milan.

After joining us in 2014, his consistency and quality made him a leading figure and a popular man amongst supporters as he showed a level of class that was sorely missing in the rest of the side.

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Injuries though have gradually taken their toll on the 30-year-old, as he managed just 10 appearances last season and has struggled to cement his place as a permanent fixture in the starting XI this year.

With his contract set to expire this summer, will Milan opt to extend his stay or bid farewell? With La Gazzetta dello Sport noting that Lazio may swoop for him when his deal expires, an exit is seemingly becoming a more likely outcome with an apparent lack of progress in contract talks.

Why Milan should keep Bonaventura

34 goals and 15 assists in 171 appearances, coupled with his experience and understanding of the culture within the walls of Milanello to impart that sense of the ‘Milan way’ on new arrivals, there is a lot that Bonaventura could still offer.

His influence has waned on the pitch, but as seen as recently as the defeat to Genoa, he’s still capable of playing a role and has the composure and intelligence to be effective while also being versatile enough to adopt different positions.

Naturally, these situations depend on other factors. Will the two parties agree on personal terms? Would Bonaventura accept a reduced role? Does he form part of Elliott’s strategy?

If the stars align, it would be a positive move to see him extend his stay, but all these obstacles need to be overcome and importantly, must make sense for the club and what they’re planning moving forward.

Strong argument that it’s time to move on

In contrast, there is no denying that injuries have taken something away from Bonaventura in recent years. From a string of muscle and hamstring troubles to having to undergo knee surgery in 2018, he isn’t the same player he was prior to those setbacks.

Coupled with his age as he’ll turn 31 in August, it’s easy to see why many believe, and perhaps want, an exit to materialise this summer, as it could very well be time to move on and look for a long-term solution in that department.

Bonaventura will undoubtedly remain a hugely popular figure among the Milan faithful, but putting sentiment to the side and considering what makes sense from a business and footballing perspective, experience and being capable of making an impact in a bit-part role may not be enough to convince the Milan hierarchy to offer terms which are considered acceptable.

It really would be such a shame to see him move on, especially if he were to join a domestic rival, but looking at the bigger picture, perhaps Bonaventura’s best days are behind him and if the money’s not right, Milan would be wise to look elsewhere and stick with their strategy of building for the future.