WFC: AC Milan planning replacements for Ibrahimovic, Silva
MIAMI — It's been more than a week since his transfer was made official, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still stealing the show at AC Milan camp after the Italian club's arrival to the USA on Friday.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri and his Serie A giants have been unable to emerge from the shadow of the Serie A's leading scorer last season, who was transferred to Paris Saint-Germain along with defender Thiago Silva.
"We've lost two champions and I hope we can replace them by the end of August [close of transfer window]," Allegri told media gathered at Sun Life Stadium on Friday night. "The transfer market is open to the 30th of August and until then we can't say how strong this team can be."
The Italian manager may come across as cool, but one of his players, Mathieu Flamini betrayed a hint of alarm in the Rossoneri's ranks at having to fill the shoes of two world stars.
"Concerned, of course," Flamini said when asked whether he was preoccupied about the losses of Ibrahimovic and Silva. "They were big players, but like I said we have big players on the team, too, and we have to work hard and keep going and I'm sure everything will be fine."
Although the star power may not be the same, the quality of AC Milan's roster is still undeniable. The presence of attackers Kevin Prince-Boateng, Stephan El-Shaarawy and Dutchman Urby Emanuelson, who scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Schalke 04 in a Wednesday friendly, ensure Milan retain their offensive flair.
When it comes to Saturday night's match against Chelsea, Allegri confirmed that he has no injury concerns, only players who are behind in their physical preparation. In fact, five players — Ignazio Abate (Italy), Antonio Cassano (Italy), Riccardo Montolivo (Italy), Antonio Nocerino (Italy) and Philippe Mexes (France) -- just returned for training on Wednesday after participating in Euro 2012.
Also, skillful Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato is away with Brazil's Olympic team. But whoever's absent, or transferred, the show must go on at AC Milan.
"When you play for Milan, you want to win every game," Flamini said. "But like I said, it's preparation and we still have to increase our form. … It's a good game and we'll do everything to win it."