Kevin Prince and the paupers

Today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport has a front-page photo of the grandly-named Kevin Prince Boateng looking mean and moody, sitting on a pile of rubble on what seems to be a mock-up of a building site.

In riposte, after obliterating a wall or small building, with sledge hammer in hand the evidence suggests that Milan’s newest recruit is a tough, no-nonsense sort of guy – the wrecking-ball of football; the new Rino Gattuso.

Inside there is an exclusive full-page interview – it’s August after all, a slow month – with probably the least-known footballer to have graced the cover of Italy’s biggest-selling daily, who goes on to say: “It’s unbelievable to be there.”

Plenty of Rossoneri fans are also thinking how far-fetched it is that a club that titles itself ‘the most successful in the world’ is now reduced to taking on loan signings from Genoa.

The midfielder may have caught the eye in a couple of games in the World Cup but that seems hardly a compelling reason for Adriano Galliani to get involved in a deal where Genoa stump up the readies so that Milan can take the player on loan.

Maybe the photo of Boateng on the debris is more apt as a metaphor on the sorry state in which Milan find itself in at the moment.

By the looks of it they don’t have a cent to rub together, let alone the ability to scrape up the €6 million Portsmouth were looking for - forcing them to go cap in hand to Genoa owner Enrico Preziosi to fund the deal.

You could say it is a win-win situation for both parties: Genoa can expect an €8 million Euro transfer fee if Milan decide to make the move permanent at the end of the season – a 30 per cent return on their investment - and if it doesn’t work out then Milan have saved a few cents.

"Hello? Yes, I'd like a refund on my sunglasses..."

Having handed out big, juicy contracts to the heroes of the 2007 Champions League triumph, Milan are now stuck with the wage-draining likes of Kakha Kalazde and Marek Jankulovski until the end of next season at least.

It is not uncommon for Italian clubs to buy a player, only to loan him out almost immediately but that it usually with the aim of giving the new signing some experience before he returns to the fold.

This is certainly not the case with Boateng – and Preziosi has already stated that he does not expect to see the player in a Genoa shirt.

The whole episode certainly has the feel of the gentleman’s club about it and both clubs have already cozied up this summer on the transfer market, with Milan signing Marco Amelia and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

In fact, Preziosi had been working on brokering a co-ownership deal with Lazio to bring Boateng to Italy – the sole purpose would seem to have been to put the player in the transfer shop window once again.

However, the Roman club are not exactly in descending order: high-profile, in with a chance of silverware, on TV every-week material hence the San Siro rather than potential mid-table obscurity.

The pressure is on Boateng to persuade Milan that he is the answer to their midfield problems where Gattuso is well on the wane and Mathieu Flamini is neither a creator nor destroyer.

If he fails there is no way he will ever taste the delights of Liguria – not good enough for Milan but maybe okay for Genoa is never going to happen.

At 23, at least he will add some much-needed youthful vigour to Massimiliano Allegri’s side and the coach has been asking very politely if there was any chance of the club’s hierarchy sanctioning a move for a physical midfielder.

Well, the damage he did with that sledge-hammer suggests Allegri may have got his man but the way Milan went about it gives further credence to the belief that a once proud club is crumbling before our eyes.

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