With Clarence Seedorf in contention to take over from Massimiliano Allegri, Alex Mott wonders just what Milan are thinking.
“Berlusconi wants to get rid of Allegri.”
At least that was Billy Costacurta’s view on Wednesday when speaking to Sky Sport Italia. Speculation has been mounting for weeks that Massimiliano Allegri will be getting the chop from the Milan chief within the next few days, and many, including the majority of bookmakers, are expecting Clarence Seedorf to come in as Coach.
It is a potential appointment which has already divided everyone’s opinion. The former Rossoneri midfielder has been in Brazil for the past season, living it up at Botafogo in their version of Serie A. The ex-Netherlands international has no previous coaching experience of any kind, let alone at one of the grandest clubs in Europe.
It’s a concern for the San Siro side and for Fabio Capello it’s probably a step too far for the 37-year-old: “In my view Allegri has worked very well and ought to stay, though we know Presidents have a different way of evaluating situations.
“I trained Seedorf many years ago and always respected him, but being Coach of Milan is not a joke. As a first experience, it could be a big risk.”
The club are potentially taking a huge gamble, just one season into the new ‘project’ Silvio Berlusconi hailed this time last year. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso and Pippo Inzaghi all leaving the team in the summer, 2012-13 was a campaign of initial lows and subsequent highs.
The early season losses to Sampdoria, Atalanta and Inter were soon forgotten after Christmas thanks to a run of 19 games without defeat. The emergence of Stephan El Shaarawy, M’baye Niang and Mattia De Sciglio has been a real shot in the arm for a side that was, previously, lacking in any youthful verve. And of course, the signing of Mario Balotelli in January gave the Diavolo a genuine, on his day, goalscorer.
It is understandable then, that supporters at San Siro have been somewhat dismayed with the rumours of Allegri’s departure, as they made clear in a statement last week: “We understand, but do not share the idea, that who invests may decide to change Coach for personal reasons, but if we are talking about a project then you have to at least start with an affirmed Coach and not with people like Seedorf or others who have no experience and will take over a young side which is a month away from its first official engagement such as the difficult Champions League preliminary round.”
“We, at the very least, ask that Milan and its fans are respected, with decisions which are not made in the moment but with the continuation (if not with Allegri who we strongly support, then at least with a real Coach) of a project which a year ago we supported against everything and everyone.”
It was a clear declaration from the tifosi – Seedorf? No thanks. A Champions League finish after a summer of upheaval is nothing to be sniffed at, even if Milan believe they should be winning the Scudetto every season.
To just rip that up and start over again would be a complete mistake and would show a real lack of foresight from the President and his cronies – especially if the man coming in is someone with no experience and hasn’t proven himself in the intricate art of game management.
Allegri has already been offered a way out of Lombardy if he so chooses, with Roma reportedly presenting the former Cagliari boss a three-year deal worth around €3.5m. The capital club have, of course, no European football to look forward to next term. But the way the 45-year-old has been treated, he’d be well within his rights to walk away from the madness at turmoil at Giuseppe Meazza and hop on a one-way train to Rome.
Milan may not be the team they once were, but that’s not down to Allegri. History is littered with examples of high-profile players being parachuted into top jobs – very rarely does it work out.