It looks like ‘‘Count Max'' spewed out his final numbers, and Milan have closed the Allegri chapter in their lives once and for all.
After a dreadful and uninspiring campaign in Serie A this season, Italian giants Milan have fired head coach Massimiliano Allegri and his coaching staff after the team was able to only win 5 matches out of 19, and currently sit 11th in the table -- 30 points behind league leaders and rivals Juventus.
Allegri's dismissal seemed to be long overdue for some diehards, who felt his time expired long ago, based on tactical decisions and no real influence in terms of ameliorating the squad.
Replacing Allegri until the end of the season will be Mauro Tassotti and
to the surprise and excitement of many, former Milan and Real Madrid legend Clarence Seedorf is appointed as head coach moving forward.
In a sport such as calcio, sometimes change is for the better. It is a no brainer when things start to turn sour. With the coaching improvements ahead of us, things are slightly clearer.
With that being said, how much really changes? Will the team itself change? What is different now, besides the coaching staff that seemed to have burned their bridges with the owners and fans?
However the Rossoneri will need several reinforcements to return anywhere remotely close to the glory days.
One of those reinforcements includes Keisuke Honda, who made the move to Milan after serving for CSKA Moscow in Russia for nearly 4 years. The versatile forward had a few bright moments when he came on as a late substitute this weekend against Sassuolo, including a shot that bounced off the post which would have marked his first goal for the club just minutes after entering the pitch (Honda scored his first goal for the club against Spezia in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday).
Honda's ability to change the game may be apparent after first glance, however a bigger concern is if him and Mario Balotelli, easily the club's biggest superstar, can form a successful partnership. Both players like to hold onto the ball to create plays, and even though Balotelli and Honda have been a part of important and incredible assists in the past, one is not exactly a feeder for the other. Even though Honda may play behind the strikers (with Kaka moving up), it remains to be seen how he develops with others.
Speaking about Kaka, his return to Milan has been satisfactory, and just like he did in his last couple of seasons with the club before leaving for Real Madrid, he has saved Milan on numerous occasions in his return.
We cannot rely on Kaka, or even expect him to be the juggernaut that he was, however moving into a striker role really is not the answer. That is where Stephan El Shaarawy comes in, but with the injury concerns that surround him at the moment, Milan should not shy away and dip into the transfer market for someone available.
Now that Alessandro Matri finds himself at Fiorentina, and Giampaolo Pazzini is a decent secondary striker who is lethal when he finds his groove, the attacking department seems alright for now even if they do not buy (with the heavily inconsistent Robinho an option on the sidelines).
In the midfield area, Riccardo Montolivo was touted as the next Andrea Pirlo, and even if he is the central component to the midfield moving forward -- he needs to mold himself in that regard. He is the real deal, however sometimes, he could be quite inconsistent in terms of day-by-day performances. He also needs players around him to really create something in the center. Nigel de Jong is good at being ruthless, and with Andrea Poli, Riccardo Saponara, and Bryan Cristante still having quite a bit to learn, an experienced midfielder is needed.
It was rumoured that Sully Muntari was crying when Allegri said his goodbyes to the team, and hopefully, that is because he knows his playing time is coming to an end.
If the rumours of Seedorf unveiling Chelsea's Michael Essien as his first signing are true, it is not a bad start.
As for the backline, we have come a long way since he days of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini -- and that is definitely nowhere near a good thing.
Milan's defense is atrocious, simply put. If Italy has such a good reputation when it comes to defenders, it is not coming from the current state of Milan right now.
It would be unfair to say Kevin Constant never had a good game, but he is not a true Milan player. Philippe Mexes has his fair share of stinkers as well, and despite him being the strongest center back right now, he needs a partner who will cover for him or nullify his mistakes by leading him. It is nice that Adil Rami made his way over from Valencia, however he is not the answer there.
As for Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio, they seem to be the future, although they have their work cut out for them if they want to reach elite status. Constant call-ups to the Italian national team could only help them improve.
With that being said, everyone else at the backline is dispensable (even if Seedorf has plans for Urby Emanuelson).
It seems like the only option is to buy in the January transfer window, and as Milan fans, we know that does not always materialize. With the new ownership taking the reigns at Inter, the big club attraction at Juventus, and the fact that Rafael Benitez can bring quality players to Napoli, Milan need to equalize somehow. It does make the club somewhat capitalistic and brings forth a negative connotation with the elite, however Milan is a glorious club. Their fans have been accustomed to a winning regimen, and even if this season has been a bust, that should not change moving forward.
The Primavera is doing well and so is Filippo Inzaghi, and we have always had good youth. However, we can't bank on them yet.
Europe is lost next season, and that will be the real challenge -- a target like Xavi, who will not be renewing his contract at Barcelona next season, may find it difficult to play in the league and not against some of the world's best clubs in the sport's historic Champions League tournament. Even the Europa league seems out of reach - for the moment.
Every year, all we hear is how we are buying...but then we are selling, and with that money we will buy. And then, we sell and do not buy.
However, blame needs to lie on the present squad as well. They need to play with their hearts on their sleeve, solely for the reputation of Milan if all is lost.
And right now, the prestige is lost.
Patience is a virtue and results may vary at first, but patience becomes easier to deal with when we see improvements.