AC Milan will have to continue to search for a reserve to Zlatan Ibrahimovic as their 2-1 victory over Genoa provided more questions than answers in regards to their long-term future.
The win took them onto 66 points and they remain second in the Serie A table after 31 rounds, but the Rossoneri showed once again that they are missing a genuine presence in the penalty area without the Swedish great, who was ineligible due to suspension.
Left-winger Ante Rebic opened the scoring on Sunday and Mattia Destro equalised for the Grifone but the winning goal for Il Diavolo came from a player that has been linked with the Italian giants.
Genoa striker Gianluca Scamacca got scared after a Hakan Calhanoglu corner, turning his back on the ball and diverting it into the net. The 22-year-old has been linked with Juventus as well and scored Il Vecchio Balordo’s consolation goal in their 3-1 defeat to La Vecchia Signora, but his impact was negative against AC Milan, even squandering a chance to give the Ligurian club a shock lead.
It is understandable why Scamacca would have been seen as a vice-Zlatan. The Italy Under-21 striker stands at 195 cm tall but he is mobile and has some fine technical skills. To be an understudy to a great forward like Ibrahimovic could help the Grifone attacker improve.
Unfortunately in Italy, moments like that own goal get easily scrutinised and that could put AC Milan and Juventus off. Sassuolo reportedly value Scamacca at €20-25 million but they perhaps should not expect to sell him once he returns from his loan spell with Genoa.
The 22-year-old will need to bounce back in the remaining seven rounds of the Serie A season if he wants the Rossoneri or any other suitor to place faith in his talent.
Meanwhile, the current options up front won’t give coach Stefano Pioli much confidence. Rafael Leao was tried again as the lone striker and showed that he is uncomfortable in that position while Mario Mandzukic was ineffective as a substitute.
Injuries have limited the impact that the former Bayern Munich and Juventus striker could have had at AC Milan, and the Rossoneri need to question whether he is worth keeping at the club beyond this season. In a generous gesture, he will donate his wage for March to charity after failing to play during that month.
Considering that Ibrahimovic is 39 years old and the Rossoneri are devoid of an adequate alternative, a younger backup is needed and with a squad brimming with potential, another prolific finisher will surely make them stronger.