Six crucial players that Milan should build future plans around

Question marks are said to be hanging over the futures of a number of first-team players this summer, and so Milan have some key decisions to make.

As noted by Calciomercato, up to 11 players are currently being linked with a potential exit, some more obvious than others with loanees perhaps not seeing moves made permanent, while other individuals will see their current contracts expire this summer.

SEE MORE: Why Milan should move on from influential figure this summer

Should Milan fail to qualify for the Champions League again this season, provided the campaign is able to be completed, further changes are undoubtedly to be expected, whether that’s coaching staff, players or perhaps even both.

However, there is an obvious group of players that Milan should be doing their utmost to keep at the club for the foreseeable future, as they will no doubt be vital to our hopes moving forward.

Gianluigi Donnarumma

As per the Calciomercato report above, the 21-year-old is one of those players with doubts over his future as while his current deal expires in 2021, there is uncertainty over whether or not a renewal will be agreed given his salary level.

The shot-stopper has proven his quality time and time again for us, and with his entire career still ultimately ahead of him, it’s hoped that we can agree on terms and convince him to commit his long-term future.

His class on the pitch coupled with being a prominent face of the club makes him indispensable, and whether it’s having to sell him this summer to collect a decent fee or worst-case scenario losing him for nothing next summer, ideally an exit will be avoided altogether.

Alessio Romagnoli

The club captain’s current deal runs until 2022, but as per MilanNews, via the paper edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan are expected to make a push to agree on a new deal sooner rather than later.

The 25-year-old has been a fundamental part of our backline for years now, and as he continues to gain experience, maturity and develops his game, he is only getting better and more reliable on a consistent basis.

Players like Romagnoli need to be a pillar in our plans moving forward, and it’s hoped that a new contract will signify the intention of both parties to stick together for many more years.

Matteo Gabbia

It had been a memorable 2020 for the 20-year-old prior to the suspension of fixtures, as he made his breakthrough for the senior side and signed a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2024, as per the club’s official site.

Having impressed during pre-season, it was hoped that he’d get his chance in competitive football much sooner, but the early signs are positive from his initial performances.

Finding a partner for Romagnoli has been problematic for Milan. Several options have come and gone and the changes continue. Gabbia is potentially a long-term solution, but it’s important we give him the chance to prove it before starting to consider buying an alternative option.

Theo Hernandez

His form dipped prior to the break and so that is a concern as we need players who can perform consistently week in and week out to take us back to the top.

That said, the 22-year-old has bagged six goals and two assists in 25 appearances so far this season, and his attacking quality down the left flank has added a crucial dynamic to the side.

He must improve defensively as he’s still hugely flawed in that department. If he can continue to develop, then he will be a fundamental figure moving forward.

Ismael Bennacer

The Algerian international has been one of the stand-out performers of the season thus far, as he looks a real gem of a player.

From his tenacity and work ethic off the ball to provide defensive coverage for the backline to his technical quality and passing range to set the tempo in midfield and get us moving, he has impressed in both phases of the game.

The focus must be on finding him an ideal midfield partner who would allow him to flourish further, but there is no question that he has firmly established himself as a pivotal figure in the side.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibra turns 39 in October and as per Calciomercato above, there are doubts over his future currently due to his salary and age.

Although his return in January did coincide with an upturn in form and while he has contributed four goals and an assist in 10 appearances, it’s important to note that it hasn’t all been positive.

From his constant frustration on the pitch when things don’t go his way to missing some big chances, he hasn’t been perfect.

That said, his experience, influence on the younger players, winning mentality and ever-lasting quality can still make a significant difference. It’s arguably enough for it to make sense to keep him for another year, as we need that crucial balance in the squad to help take the pressure off the youngsters if that is ultimately going to be the strategy moving forward.

Notable mentions

Ante Rebic’s turnaround this season has been superb, and he deserves plenty of credit for putting his struggles behind him, continuing to plug away and eventually get his reward.

However, he still has a lot to prove in terms of being a regular starter for Milan, but if he can continue to be decisive, having now scored seven goals in 18 outings, then he can certainly get himself on this list.

Rafael Leao has shown flashes but nowhere near enough yet to suggest he is integral moving forward, while Samu Castillejo is another player who deserves respect for emerging as a key figure, but there is a sense we can still find an upgrade on him.