Maldini says the appointment of new coach Massimiliano Allegri will only paper over the cracks caused by a lack of investment in the squad.
“Allegri did very well at Cagliari and I hope he can do just as well at Milan,” said Maldini.
“However, at this moment the real problem is not the Coach, but closing the gap on other clubs and for that we need new players.
“Juventus are investing heavily, Inter are already strong and still want to pour more money into the squad.
“It is a tricky time in the transfer market and Milan seem eager to limit themselves to relatively cheap exchange deals. The fans have to get used to that.
“In these circumstances, though, it becomes very difficult to close the gap on the other sides.”
Silvio Berlusconi and Vice-President Adriano Galliani have declared Milan’s new plan to bring in more players through the youth system.
“Talents cost money,” warned Maldini, who made his debut aged 16. “There is so much talk about the youth team, but these lads are not ready for a dangerous League like Serie A.”