Considering Silvio Berlusconi stated that AC Milan were focusing on a change of direction towards youth after selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG, supporters could have been forgiven for thinking that Stephan El Shaarawy represented the future of the club.
After all, El Shaarawy almost single-handedly prevented last season being written off as a failure, with his 16 league goals helping Milan finish third.
However, a return to a 4-3-1-2 formation this season certainly doesn’t aim to get the best from the 20-year-old, as his most dangerous role has looked to be on the left of a front three.
Kaka was re-signed in the summer to play the attacking midfield role and with strong rumours that Keisuke Honda will join in January from CSKA Moscow, he will provide the chief competition with youngster Riccardo Saponara.
Meanwhile, Mario Balotelli is virtually guaranteed one of the two starting striker berths, leaving El Shaarawy to technically fight for the other, alongside Alessandro Matri, Giampaolo Pazzini and Robinho.
Given that El Shaarawy is the club’s most sellable asset, a move in the near future looks a done deal, with Manchester City previously linked.
But, Arsenal have already stolen the headlines in one transfer window with their club-record signing of Mesut Ozil and Arsene Wenger must consider a repeat of this big-money strategy with El Shaarawy.
Not only would he bring a greater threat of goals from the left flank, El Shaarawy is known for his workrate up and down the pitch, which could be of additional value now that Kieran Gibbs is becoming a greater attacking factor from left-back.
El Shaarawy is at his best cutting in from the wide areas and firing in shots at goal and this would prove a nice alternative to Santi Cazorla in the position, who prefers to drop off and dictate play, rather than drive at defenders and pin them on the back foot.
Signing El Shaarawy in January could make Arsenal look a generous price at 9/2 to win the Premier League or 13/8 to finish in the top two.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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