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Tactics Tuesday: Pep Who?

Pep who? Why Pep Guardiola is not the answer for AC Milan...

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A point that is often missed when speaking of Pep Guardiola's accomplishments is that they are synonymous with two, maybe, three factors. Barcelona, Messi and La Masia. To discuss Pep Guardiola and not consider these factors would be like discussing Milan's Invincible season and not mentioning Baresi, Maldini, and Sacchi. Every once and a while a team experiences a moment of shear harmony, where all the pieces fall into the place and everything goes just right. With all due to respect to Mr. Guardiola, he has lived his moment.

I have never made it much of a secret here, I prefer CRON to Leo Messi, and in the same sense I prefer Mourinho to Pep. Whereas one is elegant and almost infantile, the other is blunt and wiley. While one holds an air of misconceived innocence, the other relishes the role of the villain. If I had to pick one I will always pick CRON and I will always choose the Special One. This doesn't mean I dislike Messi, or Pep, it is simply an opinion based in style and tactics, and if Milan choose to part ways with Allegri, I won't ask for Mourinho, the Coach I truly admire, but I will gladly argue against Pep Guardiola.

It would be ignorant to claim that Pep's accomplishments with Barcelona are based solely on him and not at all a product of circumstance. To look at Barcelona's tiki-taka tactics and style and applaud a single man is simply ludicrous. Messi is just as much responsible for his team's success as the Coach, but a point often missed and overlooked is the fact that Pep's Barcelona came to prominence at about the same time as Spain's Golden Generation. Aragones, Del Bosque and La Masia, Barcelona's youth system, created an alchemy that has seen not only Spain win three of the last available Trophies but Barcelona's successes on it's coat tails. Pep Guardiola is less of an innovator and master tactician and more of a manager. He saw the impending rise of Xavi, Iniesta, Pique and Pedro, he supplemented it, experienced his success, and walked away before the decline.

Milan's courtship of Pep is a futile error, one that seemingly doesn't consider all the aforementioned factors. Pep would not inherit a team rich with youth talent from Milanello ready to take the pitch. He would not come into a role in which the National Team was playing a cultural style of football and providing invaluable experience on the Global stage. Instead he would inherit a team in a disarray, without an identity, and more importantly without a budget! A point about Mr. Guardiola often overlooked is his record in the transfer market, his best purchases were former La Masia graduates, but every time he spent his Club's money on non-Barcelona bred players the results were mixed. Henry, replaced by Zlatan, ultimately replaced by Sanchez or his courtship of Hleb or his handling of Yaya Toure. He clearly resonates with players like him, born and bred Catalans, but after that there is a bit of a gap. Something to consider when AC Milan is made up of some stubborn Italians, lazy Brazilians, and a handful of misfits.

Milan need not hire Pep Guardiola, Milan needs to hire the IDEA of Pep Guardiola. Barcelona knew exactly what they were doing when they made that move. They put a man from the inside in charge just at the right moment, and he flourished. Lightining rarely strikes twice, and Milan should be looking inside for their own Pep, not Pep himself. Stroppa, Maldini, Baresi, Tassotti, even Pippo. If Allegri is foolishly shown the door, after sticking with this team who sold his best assets!? Milan should find their identity within, find the pieces to build the foundation of AC Milan, not some haphazardly bought hodge podge of players from all parts of the Globe with a foreign Coach. Often times on this blog a statement like that gets me branded a racist from people who fail to realize a simple point. Barcelona built from within, with a Catalan as a Coach, doing exactly what I want for Milan, and they were applauded!? Pep Guardiola is not the answer, the answer is somewhere right in front of Management's eyes, in meetings on the youth pitches, but they are blind and stupid, chasing a dream like many of the Barcelona brainwashed tifosi across the Globe. We don't need Pep Guardiola, we don't want to be Barcelona, we ARE ALREADY AC MILAN.