In Italy, currently there sits a club steeped in tradition languishing in mid-table amongst clubs that regularly fight off relegation. To the Milanese faithful this is almost blasphemous because their beloved Milan have controlled the Italian Serie A for many years. A.C. Milan have a total of 18 domestic Serie A titles, 7 UEFA Champions League titles, and many other notable domestic and intercontinental trophies to boast. The club in its 114 year history, has a trophy room and supporters’ minds full of great memories. Following the club’s 11th round 2-nil loss to Fiorentina, and a devastating 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in Champions League, manager Massimo Allegri is on the hot seat facing the sack.
In Allegri’s current three and a half year stint at Milan, the club holds a winning percentage of just over 52%, which is not exactly going to win over the supporters in the San Siro. But Allegeri alone can not be held accountable for Milan’s poor slide. The Rossoneri’s board of directors and Vice President Adriano Galiano in particular must also be held accountable. As many things can be attributed to the club’s dip in form, there is a new reality in Italy; financially A.C. Milan can not compete with Europe’s elite teams anymore, and A.C. Milan’s board have turned the club into a “selling club.”
Following Kaka’s £56m transfer to Real Madrid in 2009, the Rossoneri have struggled to keep their best talent at the San Siro, and consequently in recent years, Il Diavolo have sold off stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Alexandre Pato, and Kevin-Prince Boateng. The current global financial crunch has pressed football clubs to be more fiscally responsible, cut down their wage bills and invest in youth. In the last few seasons the hierarchy at A.C. Milan have essentially focused on a bargain transfer policy of brining in experienced older players, promoting their starlets from the Milanello training grounds, and slashing their wage bill. Now promoting youth at the side from Lombardy is nothing new, with players like Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi coming out of their Primavera setup.
Since their last Scudetto title of the 2010-11 season, the Rossoneri have been on a downward trend consequently finishing second in 2011-12 and third in 2012-13. On current form this season, A.C. Milan look to repeat that trend again this campaign. Upon manager Massimo Allegri’s appointment in June 2010, there was rumblings from within the club from some of its legends and top players about Allegri’s capabilities to manage a top side. Massimo Allegri did well with a financially limited Cagliari side. But for a prestigious Milan side so steeped in tradition, could the club really place all of its hopes and ambitions onto the shoulders of a manager who’s previous best finish was ninth with a recently promoted side, and no previous Champions League experience. In truth, A.C. Milan’s 2010-11 scudetto helped Allegri to win over some supporters initially, but it was more of papering over the massive cracks.
In hindsight, the manager might be regretting his decision to allow arguably one of his best players, and one of Italy’s most creative midfielders, Andrea Pirlo, to leave for bitter rival Juventus after nearly 11 years of service at the club. All is not lost though within the Via Turrati side, there is a few promising youngsters like speedy attacker Stephan El Shaarawy, full-back Mattia De Sciglio, and an indisciplined but exceptionally talented Mario Balotelli. Also after much speculation, A.C. Milan will have CSKA Moscow’s Japanese star midfielder Keisuke Honda and Valencia’s French defender Adil Rami, join the club in January’s transfer window on a free transfer and a season’s loan respectively.
Will these 2 new recruits help this A.C. Milan side progress and recapture their former glory? The A.C. Milan board is hoping it will, but with neither player being the mercurial, game-changing, creative maestro the club is missing-it’s hard to see the results come good for Milan. The club has in the past has spent in the january transfer windows, but spending means nothing if the right mix of talent is not brought in. If Allegri does ultimately lose his seat as A.C. Milan’s manager, expect the Rossoneri to appoint another young manager with a point to prove; former Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo woud fit that bill. After being unjustly sacked at Chelsea so early on in the 2012-13 season, improving this A.C. Milan side might be the project Di Matteo needs to prove he is still a capable top level manager. The prospect of hiring a former Champions League winning manager who also played for the Azzurri will no doubt entice Il diavolo fans if their beloved A.C. Milan continues on its slide down towards the relegation zone.