Poli emerging as a star for Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Dino Panato/Getty ImagesAndrea Poli has become a Milan staple this season.

Milan's injury problems have been much publicised over the past fortnight, but in the absence of a number of key individuals, one summer signing has shone in particular. Having arrived from Sampdoria ahead of the new campaign, Andrea Poli is growing into a real prospect.

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Despite still being only 23 years of age, the Italian international is well known to Serie A after putting in over 50 appearances for his former club as well as spending a loan spell at rivals Inter last season. While that move didn't produce the desired stability he had wished for, he now has the opportunity to really establish himself for both club and country.

Having spoken about his ability a great deal in recent blog posts, the combative midfielder has all the attributes necessary to flourish as a box-to-box midfielder in this squad and become a mainstay in the starting line-up.

After scoring his second goal of the season in the thrilling draw at Torino, Poli has also shown an eye for finding the net which adds yet another string to his bow, something that has been much required considering the recent absentees for Milan.

Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms of Massimiliano Allegri's squad last season was the presence of numerous defensive midfielders who ultimately were battling for the same roles. That trend has continued with Sulley Muntari and Nigel de Jong, with their grit neglecting the need for penetration and invention.

That is exactly where Poli has stepped in and produced, and combined with the return of captain Riccardo Montolivo, the Milan midfield will be increasingly more dynamic and flexible, provided the trio can all maintain both form and fitness.

However, what is vital is that Poli can still offer Allegri that protection in front of the defensive line, therefore hopefully ruling out the need to field three defensive midfielders which then puts additional pressure on the likes of Mario Balotelli to produce.

Poli's ability to offer support to the attackers is another vital attribute, as he has effectively replaced Mathieu Flamini in that respect, but is arguably a better all-round individual with room for improvement and growth.

In addition, the former Samp ace is still hungry for international acclaim as he looks to break into Cesare Prandelli's more permanent plans for the future. While he has already featured for the Azzurri, he is still short of becoming a regular selection. However, his form for the Rossoneri could well change that ahead of the summer.

While Poli has undoubtedly impressed in the early stages of the season, the most promising aspect of his start to life at Milan is that it is clear he can only become better in terms of consistency. Although he has perhaps been made to look better considering the lack of quality in depth elsewhere, there is definitely a place for him to fill in this Milan side for years to come.

What have you made of Poli's impact thus far? Does he have an important future at Milan?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty


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