Continuing the series, we take a look at a young Italian, who is hoping to become the next great defender to emerge from AC Milan's youth system.
Michelangelo Albertazzi (AC Milan)
Date of Birth: January 7, 1991
2005-2008 Bologna : 0 Apps
2008- AC Milan: 0 Apps
The AC Milan youth system may have been criticized in Italy over recent years for failing to produce talented youngsters, capable of making the step up to the first team, but one really can’t condemn too much a step up which, in the past, has produced the likes of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, however may years ago that may have been now. In the past few seasons however, one player in particular has emerged through the Milan youth ranks, who is hoping to follow in the renowned footsteps of those two former club captains, in becoming the next great Italian defender to have been groomed by the club, that player being none other than Michelangelo Albertazzi.
Although having played at Milan since the age of seventeen, Albertazzi in fact began his football career with his hometown side, Bologna, joining them at only fourteen, before signing his very first professional deal with the club a couple of years later, in January 2007. Though starring for their youth team, the young Italian never made a first team appearance for the Rossoblu but it was his impressive play for the Italy U-17 side that attracted interest from a whole host of clubs across the continent. Despite having turned down an approach from Arsenal no more than a couple of months earlier, not even a year after signing Albertazzi to professional terms, Bologna accepted an offer of just over £1 million from Milan for the highly rated defender, in August 2007, and the much sought after Albertazzi joined the club the next summer, as per the terms of the transfer agreement. Since then, Albertazzi has featured prominently for Milan’s Primavera side, earning glowing reviews, and has been marked as a player set to break into the first team in the near future. Equally comfortable playing in the centre of defence or at left back, Albertazzi has evidently drawn comparisons to the former club legend Maldini, whom he especially idolized as a child and has tried to model his game upon. Certainly, from watching him in action, one can see that that’s the case, as Albertazzi plays with a certain elegance and confidence, reminiscent of Il Capitano, though there are still many holes to his game, which need to be addressed before he can make the step up to the big time. Though not lacking in pace, Albertazzi still appears too physically weak to consistently compete against Serie A strikers week after week, while his decision making at times could be described, at best, as poor. Much like Matteo Darmian or Davide Astori, a season out on loan or co-ownership deal with another top flight club would be of huge benefit to Albertazzi’s progression and could well be the answer to realizing his potential. There is evidently a lot of promise within his game but, thus far, Albertazzi has not had the opportunity to display his talents. Look for that to change next season, whether it be with Milan or perhaps at another club in Italy; the potential he has shown at youth level indicates he has enough to make it at the top.
That's all for now but stay tuned, as I hope to have more scouting profiles up in the near future.