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.
M’Baye Niang (Forward, 20)
The French forward is no stranger to Milan fans having been in and out of the first team since his arrival as a fresh faced 17-year-old from Stade Malherbe Caen back in 2012. Despite making 33 appearance for the Rossoneri between two loan spells away from the club, Niang has continually struggled to cement his place in the team.
It was a similar tale last season as he found opportunities under Inzaghi limited to a few minutes at the end of games. Behind the likes of Giampaolo Pazzini, Fernando Torres and later Mattia Destro in the pecking order he opted to join Genoa on loan during the January transfer window.
Afforded substantial playing time, the 20-year-old was something of a revelation in Liguria, going on to score five goals in 12 appearances and after returning, Niang has continually insisted that his future remains with the Rossoneri, sentiments echoed by both Galliani and Mihajlovic.
A tall and powerful forward, blessed with pace, the future looked especially bright for Niang as Mihajlovic afford him substantial playing time in pre-season which seemed to confirm that he was the club’s third choice forward behind the big summer signings of Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano. However, a break to the metatarsal bone in his foot sustained while playing in last week’s Audi Cup represents a major set-back which could keep him out for three months.
Having impressed on loan, and no longer a raw youth this is a season which will either make Niang’s career at Milan and confirm his status as one of Europe’s best young strikers or break it and see him leave the club for a smaller side. Once he recovers from injury he could see significant playing time under a coach who clearly rates him, especially if Bacca and Luiz Adriano are deemed too similar to partner each other up front. There is no doubt he has the potential and ability too succeed but there are question marks over his attitude and behaviour.