Montella rebuilding AC Milan with Manuel Locatelli as the cornerstone

As we approach the turn of the year, it's time to take a look at how AC Milan have fared so far in 2016-17.

What can Vincenzo Montella's men expect between now and May? Here's how the season has gone so far.

Grade: B+


After a few years of mediocrity, it's been an encouraging start to the campaign under Montella. Building on the positive work of Sinisa Mihajlovic last season, the 42-year-old has continued the process of making Milan a tougher team to beat, while also giving his side a more expansive style of play and a sense of consistency and calmness.

Results have been impressive for most part, particularly after the Rossoneri lost two of their opening three fixtures. The wins over Juventus and Lazio and the thrilling comeback against Sassuolo all stand out, while sitting just outside the top three in Serie A after 17 games is a good place to be.

However, perhaps the biggest positive of the season so far has been the impact made by individuals like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Gianluca Lapadula, Gabriel Paletta and Suso, who have all stepped up and delivered.


While there have been several positive results, there have also been some really negative ones too. The defeats to Napoli and Udinese at the start of the season were disappointing, but given the reaction that followed, they didn't cause much damage.

However, the loss to Genoa in October and the recent defeat to Roma hurt, as they showed that there are still problem areas to be resolved and Montella still has plenty of work to do.

From a player perspective, M'Baye Niang's regression in recent weeks has been hugely frustrating, while Carlos Bacca's issues on and off the pitch have also been an unwanted setback.

The lack of impact from summer signings Jose Sosa, Gustavo Gomez and Matias Fernandez has been a disappointment, as Montella would have been hoping for much more.

Meanwhile, the ongoing delays with the takeover of the club have arguably been the biggest source of frustration, with Milan unlikely to be given significant funds for January with the deal to be completed in March.

Star man:

Manuel Locatelli, 18, is grabbing his chance to impress and making a very solid case to suggest that he is more than capable of running the Milan midfield for years to come.

The unfortunate injury to Riccardo Montolivo was a real setback for Milan, for although he rightly received criticism for his performances, the experienced international was still a reliable presence in the heart of the midfield. Up stepped Locatelli, with Montella deserving credit to show faith in the youngster, and he has certainly responded with a string of impressive displays.

Add to that the stunning goals scored against Sassuolo and Juventus, the midfield ace has proven his quality and consistency and has already established himself as a firm fans favourite.


There are a few players who have under performed so far this season, but none have been as frustrating as Niang.

The 22-year-old has long been touted as a future star for Milan, and in his defence he does have undeniable talent. Whether it's his pace, trickery on the ball or eye for goal, there are certainly many good qualities to his game, but he continues to fall short in terms of consistency and ability to be a decisive figure for the Rossoneri.

Given how he so often gets into dangerous positions or situations, his poor decision-making, inability to execute the right pass in the final third and form from the penalty spot have all undone the good work he has managed.

Predicted finish: A top-five finish in Serie A has to be the minimum expectation.