The influx of new money following Bee Taechaubol's recent investment in the club appears to have ended AC Milan's much vaunted youth policy which was first proposed following Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva's departures in 2010.
However, the truth is that the project was never really given a chance by either Adriano Galliani or a succession of coaches who consistently preferred to rely on fading big-names.
The irony now is that although Milan have returned to their former ways of spending money on established stars , in new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic they actually have a tactician with a decent record of giving young players a chance. Of course giving youngsters first team opportunities in the provinces where there is less pressure is not the same as putting your job on the line by giving them a playing time at a club of Milan's stature.
However, pre-season has been encouraging in terms of Mihajlovic's selections with several potential stars afforded opportunities to highlight their ability ahead of the new season.
Here are five of the most promising young players at the club who could feature for the Rossoneri this season.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Goalkeeper, 16)
At 16 and the youngest player on this list, few had heard of Donnarumma before the start of July when he was a surprise inclusion in Mihajlovic’s pre-season squad although he had been named to the bench for a few matches against Serie A opposition last season.
However, the baby-faced shot stopper is no longer an obscure name on a team sheet after impressing in friendlies against Alcione, Legnano, Olympique Lyonnais and Real Madrid, catching attention by saving two penalties in a shoot out against the Spanish giants. With Diego Lopez and Christian Abbiati ahead of him in the pecking order Donnarumma will have to be patient and is unlikely to get too much game time this season.
However, despite his age he has already proven he can hold his nerve against the very best and the young Neapolitan may not have to wait too long. Both of the above mentioned goalkeepers are coming close to the end of their respective careers, especially Abbiati who at 38 is likely to be in his last season.
Donnarumma is exceptionally highly rated by those involved with the youth set up at Milanello and the Rossoneri had to fight off fierce competition from both Inter and Juventus for his signature. Given Mihajlovic’s willingness to play him against Real Madrid it is possible we could see him featuring in a few Coppa Italia matches or even a Serie A game against far smaller opposition.