With AC Milan likely to appoint a new coach at the end of the season let’s consider the alternatives for the bench.
The coaching position at AC Milan has been problematic for several years. Perhaps the difficulties would be less if the club’s management gave the job to a specialist coch. Marco Giampaolo worked at the head of the Rossoneri under very great pressure from the management without any of his requested signings. Now Stefano Pioli finds himself in the same situation. Externally, the Italian shows no signs of excitement, but he understands very well that he can leave Milan any minute.
Tension at the Milan club has been going on for several years. The situation worsened in March, when the Rossoneri fired Zvonimir Boban from the position of Chief Football Officer. The future of the club’s technical director, Paolo Maldini, was also questioned. He and the Croatian were building a project that was partially clashing with the vision of Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis. In his view, the team should seriously change and, preferably, with another coach.
If the press is aware of everything going on at Milan, then Pioli definitely knows everything. You can only imagine the pressure the coach is working under at a time when his club is openly looking for a replacement. The Italian media previously reported that even Milan players asked the club’s management not to fire the current coach and let him work at least until the end of the season. Nevertheless, let’s consider the coaches who can lead Milan from next season.
There’s been rumors around Rangnick and Milan for several months. Gazidis is a big fan of the German specialist and he really wants him to lead the team. Rangnick will have more opportunities than Pioli. According to La Gazetta dello Sport, the Rossoneri management will immediately allocate 75 million euros for transfers if the German agrees to lead the team. Gazidis considers Leipzig’s ex-mentor an ideal option for Milan. He is convinced that the German will build a strong and competitive team of young players.
Rangnick is currently the main candidate for head coach job. The German kept silent for a long time, but finally confirmed that the Rossoneri’s management is in contact with his agent. Rangnick knows that the Italian club is very interested in him, but there are some points that have delayed his appointment.
First, Rangnick requires full control over transfer. Secondly, he wants to participate in all football processes that will take place at the club. Moreover, the German demands that his opinion in many matters be decisive. Gazidis can easily comply with Rangnick’s fierst demand, but not the second one. Milan really wants to get the German but does not guarantee his full influence on football processes. Talks are ongoing.
The second in the list of candidates for the coach of Milan is Spalletti. According to the Corriere dello Sport, the management of Rossoneri takes the Italian seriously. If negotiations with Rangnik fail, the club will switch to Spalleti. The Italian has been without the club for a while and he remains an option for Milan. Spalleti has repeatedly stated his desire to return to the coaching position.
Milan considered Spalletti to replace Giampaolo. However, money intervened in the situation. The Italian is still on Inter’s books despite being dismissed in the summer of 2019. If Italian heads to another club, he will no longer be entitled to the payment from Nerazzurri.
It turns out that Spalletti is still bound by the contract with Inter until summer 2021. Milan is still interested in Luciano, but the situation with his Inter contract remains uncertain. In addition, the future owners of Newcastle have started showing interest in the Italian. Given Luciano’s love for money, the Saudis may well intercept the coach, although he is not their main candidate.
The question of Allegri’s return has been raised several times by the leadership of Milan in early 2019 and 2020. In January, the Rossoneri seriously considered the Italian specialist who had previously spent 3 and half years at the club. In February, the management returned to his candidacy. The idea of Allegri’s return was supported by Boban and Maldini. Paolo very much wanted to see his former classmate Andriy Shevchenko at the head of the team, but he has not yet finished his work in the Ukrainian national team. Shevchenko will not consider club options at least until after the Euro-2020.
Milan’s interest in Allegri is clear. Max was the last coach with whom the Rossoneri won the Scudetto. But whether Allegri himself will want to return to Milan is a big question. So far, it seems unlikely. The Italian is not hiding his interest in working abroad. Apparently, Allegri is aiming to work in the EPL, because recently he has been studying English diligently.
Allegri remains an option for Milan but not a realistic one. The former Milan and Juventus coach is one of the main candidates for the job at Newcastle. The Italian is second in the list of Saudis after Mauricio Pochettino. In addition, PSG are also interested in Allegri. According to L’Equipe, Paris sporting director Leonardo is seriously considering Max to replace Thomas Tuchel, who may leave the French capital in a few months. Probably for Allegre himself, these options will be more important than returning to Milan.
There is a chance that Pioli will still be the coach of Milan for at least one more season. In crisis conditions, the Rossoneri management began to think about keeping the coach for a while longer. First, Pioli has a relatively low salary. Secondly, the club can allocate him less money for transfers than any of the other three above-mentioned candidates. In addition, Pioli is liked by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. If the Italian stays, the chances will increase that the Swede extends his contract with Rossoneri.
Pioli’s contract with Milan lasts until summer 2021. When the deal was signed, the parties had a gentleman’s agreement:he must either win the Italian Cup or take the team to the Champions League. If he achieves at least one of these tasks, the chances of his permanence at Milan would increase significantly.
The likelihood that Milan will qualify for the Champions League is low. The distance from the Champions League zone is 12 points. It’s almost impossible to eliminate this gap before the end of the season. Pioli’s only hope is the Italian Cup. Milan managed to offer a great performances in the first leg of the semi-final against Juventus. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. The Rossoneri still have chances to reach the final of the tournament.
The situation with the Covid crisis may also benefit Pioli. Clubs continue to lose money, and Milan’s financial situation was already imperfect before Covid. The Rossoneri may simply not have enough money for a top coach. In that case they will have no other choice but to keep Pioli at least until the end of the contract. Perhaps in today’s reality he is the best option for Milan at the moment. Unless Elliot decides to open their pocket.
By Serge Zavalko
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