Published On: Wed, Aug 1st, 2012

Are Kaka and Alessandro Matri right for AC MIlan?

With the sales of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG, AC Milan are in the market for a few players.

Former Milan star Kaka along with former Rossoneri youth product Alessandro Matri have been mentioned as serious transfer targets for the San Siro giants. However, with the declaration of a shift in focus to a side built around youth, are these two the types of players Milan should be focusing on?

Milanisti are seemingly 50/50 on the return of the prodigal son to the club. The name of Andrei Shevchenko comes to mind; a Milan legend that left the club only to return a shell of his former self.

The Ukranian went to Chelsea in 2006 as the second most prolific player in club history with 175 goals in 256 appearances. On his return he only managed two goals in 26 appearances, most of which were as a substitute. None of these goals were in league play either. Shevchenko isn’t the only former player to make a return to the club with contrasting results and there is a worry that Kaka could encounter a similar fate.

Kaka left for Real Madrid in 2009 for a fee of €65 million after six years at Milan. In 2007 he led Milan to their seventh Champions League victory, displaying form which landed him the Ballon d’Or for the best player in European football that season.

However, since he began his Real Madrid career, Kaka has failed to emulate the same form he showed at Milan for Madrid. Much of his time was spent on the recovery table or on the bench behind Mesut Ozil in the pecking order. Also, in previous windows when a return of Kaka had been mentioned, Adriano Galliani has constantly reminded fans of the different economic situations in Spain and Italy which allow Madrid to pay Kaka €10 million/year wages; figures Milan could not hope to pay him. Right now this is even more apparent, given the sale of their two highest earners (who still earned under what Kaka does).

Kaka has been considered a failure of sorts at Madrid but there are few other players who could manage 24 goals and 31 assists in 92 appearances and be classed as a flop.  Injuries aside Kaka would be a staple in the Madrid first team were it not for Mesut Ozil. There are a few things which go against Kaka for him to return to AC Milan but his playing ability isn’t one of them.  The fact that he is 30 years old and injury prone are the main problems associated with signing the player, excluding transfer fees and wages.

For a player not guaranteed a starting role at Madrid, Galliani might be able to find a cut price for him, but a cut price for someone Real Madrid paid €65 million for could be in the region of €15-20 million. If AC Milan were willing to pay this much for a player why not add a few extra million to that fee and get a younger player on the rise like Leandro Damiao rather than yesterday’s  player on the decline? Coincidently, Milan are not willing to pay this sort of fee as they want Kaka on loan with Madrid paying most of his wages. The Milan hierarchy are unwilling to pay more than half of Kaka’s current €10 million a year salary.

Whilst there are some negatives to the return of Kaka there are some positives. The departure of Ibrahimovic has allowed Allegri in preseason to utilize a more dynamic team with a focus on counterattacking.  No longer is the big Swede there to slow down the attack in a team which saw some players not reach their full potential in order to compensate for him.

Unlike Ibrahimovic, Kaka allows for players around him to improve, especially the types of flair players in Milan’s attack. Alexandre Pato, who the club are so far expected to put their faith in also enjoyed his best spell at Milan while Kaka was still at the club. Throw fellow Brazilian Robinho into the mix, and the Brazilian trio could strike up an impressive partnership, whilst not forgetting Antonio Cassano and the young Stephan El Shaarawy.  If Kaka can avoid injury and comes at a low cost, he could prove to be an asset to Milan (especially after so many senators departed this summer).  With his excellent sporting values, Kaka can be a leader in the dressing room, someone whom the younger ones at the club could learn from.

Another player who would be returning to Milan for a second time is Alessandro Matri, assuming Milan decide to purchase him. His time at Milan was not as prolific as Kaka’s was, however, he was one of the many youngsters deemed not good enough for the team (sent on loan every season until his eventual sale).

The current Juventus striker has since enjoyed some decent form under current Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri during his time at Cagliari and also his time at Juventus under Antonio Conte. Matri managed 10 goals in 30 appearances, helping his team win the 11/12 scudetto. Just like Kaka, Milan want Matri on loan, but Juventus are unwilling to let him go for anything under €12 million. Also like Kaka, Matri’s age is a potential stumbling block as he is almost 28 years old and has probably already peaked. Compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 28 goals in Serie A last season Matri’s 10 goals seem like a serious step down, especially when considering his highest goal tally in Serie A is only 13 goals.

In conclusion, Kaka is a viable option for AC Milan as he could still add something to the club even at the age of 30.

First of all, the price needs to be right before we can even think of Kaka being signed. There is no point spending close to €20 million on a 30 year old with high wages when you just sold one for a similar price. If he comes on loan or with much reduced wages it is a risk which could benefit Milan more than hurt them. Secondly, Kaka cannot just be a stunt by Silvio Berlusconi and Adrian Galliani to appease unhappy fans signaling the death of the club, with a former star past his prime.

If Kaka comes in, other areas of the team which need reinforcing with quality such as midfield, central defence and left back cannot be neglected to compensate as it would be a backwards step for the club. If other attacking targets of suitable quality are deemed too expensive, then it is better to get Kaka than nothing at all as he could likely have a positive impact. On the other hand Alessandro Matri should not be considered at all.

There is no sense in trying to replace a player of Ibrahimovic’s quality with someone like Matri as the gulf in class is very apparent. It would make more sense to focus on Alexandre Pato and the other strikers of the club especially as Stephan El Shaarawy needs the space to grow. Space which in the past has not been afforded to the younger players of the peninsula which helped put AC Milan and other Italian clubs in the poor financial state they find themselves, with a clear lack of quality emerging from the youth sector for long periods.

Follow Andres on Twitter: @Milanista2113

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