It was only a few years ago that A.C. Milan were the team to beat in the Serie A and one of the best European teams, but my how things have changed. Milan currently sits in 11th place in the Serie A and unfortunately, it is something that they have been accustomed to in the last two seasons. Long gone are the days of Gattuso, Kaka, Shevchenko and Nesta-all players who made a huge difference wearing the black and red striped jersey. Since their departures, A.C. Milan has not had much to cheer about, but hopefully for them that will change soon.
I attribute AC Milan’s downward spiral to three things: coaching, lack of young talent and failed purchases.
When you are one of the most superior teams in a strong league like the Serie A, you have to have patience when it comes to managers. Carlo Ancelotti lasted eight years in Milan (2001-2009); since 2009 the Rossoneri have had five different managers (to be fair Massimo Allegri did last four), which shows that once things go bad, it’s usually the manager that gets the boot. Filippo Inzaghi (A.C. Milan legend) is the current bench boss and there have been rumblings that he could be fired very soon-wrong decision. I truly believe that once a manger takes over a team, he should be given full responsibilities as to which players he wants to bring in/sell because he knows how he wants the team to play, in what formation, and the type of players that he would like to feature in the side. I could be totally wrong, and Inzaghi could be a terrible manager, but at this point Milan will not qualify for either the Champion’s League, nor Europa League and they will most likely not get relegated, so why not let Inzaghi manage the team for at least the rest of the season.
When Milan acquired M’Baye Niang in 2012, he was supposed to be in that next wave of players, who would take this team by storm. Unfortunately for Milan, it just has not worked out like that as of yet. Niang is currently on loan at Genoa, where he will hopefully receive more playing time and prove himself to the A.C. Milan management. Stephan El Shaarawy is another player that Milan is waiting for to fully bloom. El Shaarawy has shown potential in his time at Milan, but he has not really put it all together just yet-he has also had some injuries that have set him back a bit. Hachim Mastour is a 16 year old wonder kid, who has been called the next Zidane. Personally I’m not big on calling kids anything but their name, until they prove themselves otherwise. There have already been rumours floating around that Real Madrid could be interested in the 16 year old, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. If I were in Milan’s shoes, I would definitely not sell this kid-you need someone to build around and attract bigger names because the guys that they have now, simply are not doing it.
Alessandro Matri was purchased for 12 million euros and he has been a bust, to say the least. Matri has only one goal in 15 matches for Milan, but he has done fairly well for Genoa (currently on loan) scoring seven goals and accumulating five assists in 16 matches. Giacomo Bonaventura was purchased from Atalanta for seven million euros, but it is far too soon to draw any conclusions as to how good/bad he has been, thus far. The price tag seems a bit too high, though. 21.5 million euros was spent on Mario Balotelli, but he did score 26 goals in 43 appearances, so I will cut Milan a bit of slack on that one, but Balotelli did stick around for only a year or so, which makes the transfer look a lot worse.
In conclusion, I do not feel that A.C. Milan has been completely at fault for not bringing in players, but I do feel that they-like many other teams-do spend a lot of money on players that they just bring in to sit on the bench, or loan out to other teams. One of the main reasons why star players do not sign for clubs like Milan-despite the great history-is because the Serie A is not the best league in the world anymore, and it has not been for a while now, and most players generally want to play for a top team in a top league. A.C. Milan should also focus on their academy. I am a strong believer in having a strong youth system, where you can bring in players and it costs the team a lot less money.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.