Why Milan should plan to move on from stalwart with solution in place

After Mateo Musacchio’s agent hinted at unrest this week, Milan should arguably consider a new path and look to replace the defensive stalwart ahead of next season.

The 29-year-old joined us in 2017 as part our overhaul that summer and has been a key figure in the squad since, making 73 appearances for the club.

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Composed and classy in possession with a tenacity about his defensive work that has made him an effective player at times, there are certainly positives in Musacchio’s game that suggest he can still play a key role for us. Still only 29, if he can stay injury free, there’s plenty of life left in his legs.

However, as the first signs of frustration come out from his agent, could it be time for Milan to move and find a more reliable and less error-prone defensive partner for captain Alessio Romagnoli who can complement him better with pace and mobility?

Agent critical of recent snub

As noted by MilanNews, the Argentine’s agent, Marcelo Lombilla, sounded far from impressed with the way in which Musacchio has fallen down the pecking order after his recent injury blow.

Further, he also criticised the fact that from Leonardo Bonucci to Mattia Caldara, there has always seemingly been another figure in the squad that is the preferred option in the backline.

However, his agent didn’t just look at the past as he also perhaps dropped a hint on the future too.

“If he has to go on the bench, he will do it and in June we will see. If AC Milan want him, and they believe they have a player worth keeping, then we’ll stay. If instead we have to go away, we will. At the moment I have not had any talks, it is a confusing situation for everyone. We will see what will happen later.”

Musacchio’s situation is further complicated by the fact that his current contract expires in 2021, and so if he isn’t going to sign a contract extension, Milan may have to consider a sale this summer to avoid the risk of losing him for nothing 12 months later. In turn, a decision will be needed at the end of this season.

Gabbia breakthrough, alternative options

From his impressive pre-season performances to his breakthrough with the senior side in recent months, Matteo Gabbia has started to make his presence felt.

The 20-year-old looks like a talented young player, showing good solidity, awareness and positioning defensively while looking assured in possession too.

While he still has significant improvements to make and needs experience to continue to mature into a top player, there is arguably enough there to suggest that Milan have a defender to work with who can develop into a long-term solution in our defence.

Leo Duarte will hope to return from injury next season to stake his claim for a starting berth, while a decision will need to be made on loanee Simon Kjaer. As noted by the club’s official site, the experienced Dane has joined until this summer while there is an option to make his move permanent.

In turn, if Milan do move forward with Gabbia, there is depth and experience on the bench if they wish to keep that duo, while the other obvious choice is to bring in another defender this summer.

If there is belief in Gabbia, then signing another young defender for a significant fee arguably makes no sense. What would perhaps be a smart move is to shore things up and have a trusted option behind him who is an upgrade on Duarte and Kjaer.

The common factor in all these possible equations is no Musacchio. While he’s been a decent option and a loyal servant since arriving in 2017, if Milan want to take a step forward in quality at the back and compete at the highest level, the Argentine arguably doesn’t cut it and so it might be time to shake things up next to Romagnoli and in put our faith in a young, long-term option in Gabbia.