With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Milan face an important decision over the future of stalwart Giacomo Bonaventura this summer.
The 30-year-old’s injury troubles have been well documented and there is no doubt that he isn’t at the peak of his powers anymore as he has struggled to cement himself as a regular starter this year.
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That said, since the restart he’s bagged one goal and four assists in 10 games as he’s switched between a starting berth and being an impact substitute, and that in turn has sparked the debate over whether or not Milan should try to agree on new terms and extend his stay at San Siro.
As noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, there is now renewed talk that he could remain, but what would be the sensible decision from the club?
Bonaventura playing his way towards earning new deal
His age, injury history and limited role are all strong arguments against Milan keeping him on, and they are factors that need to be considered and assessed.
That said, we’ve seen how experience can prove to be so crucial to this young squad, with Simon Kjaer and Zlatan Ibrahimovic having an important influence on the team since January and helping their younger teammates come through a difficult period to enjoy a strong run down the final straight.
Bonaventura has played a similar role and continues to make a decisive impact, showing intelligence and know-how that the youth around him perhaps haven’t quite learned just yet. His experience as well as his understanding and appreciation of the culture and history at Milan counts for more than many would think as that needs to be imparted on the long-term pieces around him.
If he can steer clear of injury, he still has a few years left in him at the top level, although naturally given his injuries have been serious setbacks, they will have taken a damaging toll on him too.
Nevertheless, with Milan looking at having to play over 50 games next season when you consider the Serie A campaign, a run in the Coppa Italia and potentially Europa League qualifiers, group stage games and then the knockout rounds depending on how far we go, we’re going to need squad depth and quality options.
Bonaventura can still provide that, and instead of letting him go and then having to identify and spend money on a replacement when we could prioritise positions in the squad which need first-choice additions while keeping him, it arguably gives the Milan management more flexibility to address other key issues.
All this depends on whether or not the two parties can agree on terms. The numbers have to make sense for Milan in line with the budget and salary cap, especially given Bonaventura’s age.
However, he has proven since the restart that he can still do a job for us when involved, he can offer an important option in the squad as we’ll have to rotate over a long season and it gives us a chance to avoid being distracted by the need to find a replacement and keeping our eye on the ball and signing players to fix certain issues in the current starting XI. Perhaps we still sign a young successor and take the pressure off his shoulders to deliver immediately.
Time will tell what Milan decide to do, but Bonaventura has surely played his well into forcing that conversation at management level to happen at the very least, and the logical decision arguably now points towards keeping him at the club.