Cassano worth the risk for Milan?

Cassano worth the risk for Milan?

Published Dec. 20, 2010 11:17 p.m. ET

It is becoming increasingly likely that Antonio Cassano will soon become an AC Milan player.

But whether Antonio Cassano is right for the Rossoneri is a question open for debate.

There are few doubts about the exceptional talents of Antonio Cassano. The diminutive Italian is one of the most naturally gifted players of his generation and had his career gone to script he would by now have been a seasoned Italian international.

For a career that promised so much, however, the story of Antonio Cassano has been one riddled with disappointments. For all his genius, the former Bari prodigy possesses a character prone to mental outbursts which has time and again landed himself in trouble with numerous coaches, presidents, the media and fans.


Such episodes have largely determined the career path of Cassano and his current conflict with Sampdoria proves that this is still the case. With Sampdoria president determined to rid the club of its No. 99, it is likely that FanAntonio will be donning the strip of another club very soon.

Milan have become the favourites to sign Antonio Cassano but after the club signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho during the summer, it is questionable whether the club really require the services of Cassano.

Many will argue that with the Filippo Inzaghi out for much of the season and given the proneness to injury of Alexandre Pato, another attacker is vital for Milan to continue their bid for domestic and European success.

But when Pato is back fit, alongside Robinho and Ibrahimovic, Milan have three quality attackers to call upon. Given Allegri’s preference to play with four strikers, however, a fourth attacker is perhaps required.

At the moment, this player is Ronaldinho. But given his atrociously poor displays this season, if Milan were to bring in Cassano in order to offload Ronaldinho, then this would the Milan attack much stronger, one could claim.

Indeed, if Allegri has plans to make Cassano the trequartista of Milan, then this would be another valid reason to sign him. At the moment, Kevin Prince Boateng fills this role and for all his great displays this season, the German born Ghanaian international is not the ideal choice for this role.

Bringing in Cassano to play in this role will strengthen the Milan attack and midfield too, as Prince could be moved deeper in to midfield, possibly replacing the ageing Gattuso.

Acquiring the services of Antonio Cassano, from a purely football perspective, therefore makes sense.

But with Cassano there is much more to consider. Given his highly volatile character, even if it makes sense for Milan to acquire another striker, one questions whether Cassano is the right choice.

Looking at his record, the former Real Madrid star is an incident waiting to happen. Whether it might be a bust up with the coach, the board or a fellow teammate, there is no reason to believe that all of a sudden Antonio Cassano will cease such antics of disruption that have characterised his career.

If Milan sign Cassano they will be taking on a significant risk. The current Milan roster already contains its share of egoists and with the addition of perhaps one of the most volatile and ill-disciplined minds in the game, Cassano may prove to be more effort than what he is worth. Certainly, this has been the case at his previous three clubs, first Roma then Real Madrid and now with Sampdoria.

Not to give the wrong impression here, if Cassano could finally learn to control himself and focus on finally fulfilling his incredible potential at a club like Milan, then Milan will be better off as much as the Azzurri would be along with Italian football, in general.

But, this has been a task to tall for Cassano so far in throughout his career. Whether, after this latest this latest debacle, he has learnt from his mistakes in order to become a success will remain to be seen.

This question, in the meanwhile, will represent the very risk that Milan will take on if they do secure the signature of the enigmatic character that is Antonio Cassano.

Frank Tigani is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, the open source sports network.