Well another rollercoaster season has concluded for AC Milan and for another year Milan miss out on Champions League. Milan fought to the very end but sadly they finished one point behind Inter Milan and Atalanta. Missing out on Champions League had a massive impact on Milan and their management. Just days after the season concluded both Gattuso and Leonardo left the club because they did not agree with the direction the club was moving. What will the summer transfer hold for Milan, who will be the new sporting director, who will be the new manger and what direction will the club take?
Gazidis setting the tone of strategic investment for the future/financial stability, not short term cash-splashes— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) May 29, 2019
What direction will Milan take?
Many Milan fans were not shocked to hear about Gattuso leaving the club but when Leonardo left the club this left many Milan fans scratching their heads in confusion. It was reported that Leonardo left the club because he did not like the direction the club was headed. This report left Milan supporters wondering what exactly is the new direction of AC Milan. Recently Ivan Gazidis did an interview with Gazzetta where he outlined three important aspects of the new Milan. These aspects are outlined in the tweet below.
Ivan Gazidis’ 3 planned goals for the future of AC Milan ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/9MAtLqOJNF— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) May 29, 2019
These statements by Gazidis are promising for Milan as it seems like they want to build a club that is sustainable. Some of these statements stand out more than others. Concerns about the stadium have been going on for years as it has been rumoured that Milan might move on from the San Siro. Whether it is renovating the San Siro or building a brand new stadium, this should be a relatively easy fix for Milan. However, the harder fixes for the squad revolve around other comments made by Gazidis. Gazidis does not want to bring in big names to fix the club but instead he wants to bring in younger talent that will grow in the Milan jersey and bring the club back to the top of Italian and European football. It is also important that the team generates profits and is able to reinvest these profits to improve the squad.
On paper all of these statements by Ivan Gazidis seem to be positive and a fresh young look for the club might be very beneficial. Revamping the squad and bringing in young talent instead of buying big names would surely be more cost efficient for the club that is in trouble with financial fair play but at the same time it could be a longer process. Another important aspect of making the team younger is keeping this young talent. Something that would anger Milan fans would be brining in this young talent and selling them off for profits. This is simply not the Milan way, this would make us look similar to Roma. This new direction for Milan could be a fresh start for a club that is at a crossroads.
A new man of the bench
The departure of Gennaro Gattuso as manager left a big hole on the Milan bench. There has been much speculation as to who exactly will become the next coach of Milan but there have not been any concrete reports. Early on in the process names like Maurizio Sarri and Antonio Conte were floated around. However Conte has been hired at Inter Milan and it looks like Sarri could be heading to Juventus. Now the rumours have suggested that the two men most likely to replace Gattuso are Simone Inzaghi and Marco Giampaolo.
Among the various candidates for the Milan bench, Simone Inzaghi and Marco Giampaolo are currently the favourites. [Gazzetta dello Sport] pic.twitter.com/KYRKxEpOGH— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) May 29, 2019
It is said that if Paolo Maldini accepts the job as sporting director then he prefers Giampaolo to helm the Milan bench. It is being reported that Simone Inzaghi has decide to remain at Lazio and fulfill his contract. Whoever Milan pick to be their next head coach it will be an interesting decision. Both of these coaches fit the mold with this new direction Milan want to take. These two coaches are tactically better than Gattuso and they bring a more attractive way of playing the game. Both men have done well with younger more cost efficient teams. Inzaghi and Giampaolo would bring a fresh new style to Milan and it would be interesting to see what they could do with a larger club. If you want to learn more about Marco Giampaolo read our previous article which details what he would bring to Milan. Below is a breakdown from our Twitter account @SBNRossonero of how much the Milan squad is compared to the others in Seria A.
Maldini the Sporting director?
Almost every rumour coming out of Milan is that Gazidis wants Paolo Maldini to become the next sporting director of Milan. It seems as if Gazidis is going all in for Maldini to be the next sporting director. Gazidis hasn't spoken to anyone else about the position as Maldini is his first choice.
Gazzetta dello Sport are also reporting this morning that Paolo Maldini is edging closer to accepting the role as the new technical director at Milan with potentially Costacurta returning to Milan in the 'club manager' role. pic.twitter.com/o54zGBOF1Z— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) June 1, 2019
Now it is all up to Maldini to decide if he wants to have a bigger role at the club. Maldini stated that the offer from Milan was very tempting and that he will take some time to think it through. Maldini did admit that his year helping Leonardo was more stressful than his time on the pitch. All signs point to Maldini becoming the next sporting director of Milan but the question is will he be making the big decisions or will Ivan Gazidis be more influential?
Departures from the club
Finishing one point out of Champions league had a lot of ramifications for Milan. Not only did they lose they coach and sporting director but surely they will be losing some of their players as well. Players with expiring contracts will be the first to leave the club. These players include Andrea Bertolacci, Ignazio Abate, Jose Mauri and Ricardo Montolivo. One player with an expiring contract that has an undecided future is Christian Zapata. Conflicting rumours have stated that Zapata might return on a lowered salary or just flat out leave Milan. In my opinion Zapata showed he is a solid backup option and Milan should try and bring him back on a reasonable salary. Next comes the decision of Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Tiemoue Bakayoko's Serie A season by numbers.— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) May 31, 2019
Rank amongst his teammates in categories:
Dribbles past: 2nd
Aerial duels won: 1st
Chances created: 4th
Pass accuracy: 10th
What letter grade would you give him? ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/xieTTKKQCl
As stated in a pervious article Bakayoko was a major part as to why Milan contended for a Champions League spot. However is Milan willing to pay the rumoured 35 million euro price tag. With this new young cost efficient direction it seems unlikely that Milan will redeem Bakayoko and this leaves another potential hole in the midfield. Now here is my speculation on who will potentially be leaving Milan this summer. First, Hakan Calhanoglu who had a very rough season but is getting interest from clubs in the British Premier League. Milan should take advantage of this and sell to the highest bidder.
Second Lucas Biglia, he had a fine season for Milan but at age 33 he does not fit the new direction that the team is moving. Next Diego Laxalt who vanished at times during the season. For a player who has speed and agility he did not put any of that to use and at 26 Laxalt should look for a fresh start elsewhere. Other players that could potentially leave the club include Fabio Borini, Ivan Strinic, Antonio Donnarumma and Samuel Castillejo.
This is an area that nobody outside of Milan has any idea about. Throughout the season Milan were linked to the likes of Everton, Nicolo Barella and Allan Saint-Maximin. However these signings were ideas of Leonardo and relied on Champions League qualification. Now Leonardo has departed and Milan have failed to qualify for Champions League so who knows if these names could still join the club. Two names that have continued to be rumoured to join Milan are Sandro Tonali and Stefano Sensi.
Both of these players fit the new mold that Milan are looking for. They are both young (Tonali 19 and Sensi 23) and could grow in a Milan shirt. Not much else is known about who Milan will target during the summer transfer window. With a limited budget Milan will surely need to sell players in order to start fresh and rebuild the club.
Bring us Sandro Tonali and Allan Saint-Maximin this summer and I’ll be pretty content— The AC Milan Offside (@SBNRossonero) June 1, 2019