As I sit here in the aftermath of the 4-0 shellacking at the hands of Napoli at home, I have many questions in my head. What is there to say about our beloved Milan anymore? Where did it all go wrong? Is there any silver lining to give the die-hard fans hope? What is the ideal solution?
Let’s just be honest, what is there to say about our beloved Milan anymore? Any die hard Milan fan will tell you that the story has been the same for the past 4 seasons now. Ever since the team was forced to sell their two best players, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva respectively, the tide has turned for the worst and has never recovered. Transfer money has been very scarce since then and the management has made poor market moves to say the least with whatever has been made available. Previously one of the best transfer market guru’s, Adriano Galliani, has been reduced to a laughing stock as he tries to put together a club that can function.
Take for example, the transfer of Andrea Bertolacci from Genoa for 20 million Euros this past transfer window. Here is a guy playing for a relatively mediocre club, put in one solid season and had a few games at international level. It is no secret that the transfer market is over-inflated, but this deal was a bad piece of business. Looking back at the previous few transfer windows, you will see moves similar to this (maybe not for the same amount), players of relative mediocrity who are brought in in hopes of turning around Milan’s fortunes. Rather than focusing on the obviously glaring needs in defense, the team opted for midfield and attack, neither of which have really panned out to this point. A solid defender in Gabriel Palleta, with international experience, was loaned out for who knows what reason and we are left to put together a center-back pairing with probably the Serie A’s most hodge-podge players with the exception of Romagnoli, who is also a youngster and a work in progress.
Where did it all go wrong? Well, in my opinion, as I mentioned before, it all started with that double transfer of Ibra and Silva to Paris Saint-Germain. The club was gutted of both its world class players and was left with mediocrity. Poor results and form were blamed on the coach. Rifts in the squad and between management and coaches began to arise. The sad and horrible departure of our beloved Clarence Seedorf in the fashion that it happened. Appointing Fillipo Inzaghi, who previously had no top-flight experience and only a Primavera trophy to show for. Introducing the younger, Italian project that never took off. There are many more examples and any die-hard fan would know them by heart.
The real problem at the club is no secret. The management. The way they run the club, the philosophy, the transfer movements, the lack of spirit, the lack of teamwork, appointing mediocre coaches for a giant club, alienating club legends like Maldini and Nesta, loaning out our most talented and highest potential youngster (Hachim Mastour) to a team for 2 years with an option to make the deal permanent, the list can go on and on. Without a firm change in philosophy and upper management at the club, I’m afraid all of us die-hards must strap our seatbelts and take a seat because it is going to be a long, long ride back to the top.
Is there any silver lining? It is really difficult to find any silver lining in the current situation. The club is performing to levels equal to last season and it could be argued worse. The two transfer market attacking additions, Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca, have yet to create the magic that we were expecting. A lot of that is due to one glaring problem that Milan has had for the past 2 seasons, at least. Creativity. It is not that the team lacks creative players. Inexperience is the only problem, but frankly, with the squad so absolutely hard pressed for creativity, it won’t hurt to throw the likes of Suso in and see the result. The Spaniard showed glimpses of brilliance in the pre-season and should be given a chance to show his merit.
What is the ideal solution? Well, as an outsider looking in, it is very apparent that the whole organization lacks any heart, any fight, any drive, any love for the club. This needs to be the foundation of everything in order to begin a rebuilding phase that could be as quick as a season or two but could last up to five or more if everything goes as it has been the last few seasons.
Step one would be to bring in our most beloved player and one who has the respect of the entire footballing world, Paolo Maldini. The guy is the epitome of class and has the right attitude and the experience to come back. Not as a manager or coach, but as a front office executive, pulling the strings to lure the best talent back to Milan. In any die-hard Milanista’s perfect world, Maldini would come back as Technical Director and replace the aging and delusional Galliani. From there, Maldini would need to surround himself with like-minded, equally driven and hungry people to begin putting back the pieces of the once footballing powerhouse known as AC Milan. This is a dream for me and I firmly believe with this solution, Milan would be on the right track to improve and return, otherwise we will continue to see transfer market blunders, unfit coaches, mediocre players and poor play indefinitely.
This article was written as an opinion piece, I know some will disagree and others will agree to certain points. I am a huge, huge fan of Milan and this blog brings us together to share our love for the club and the beautiful game. I want Milan to get back to the days of Maldini, Baresi, van Bommel, Crespo, Kaka, Pirlo, Ibra and Thiago Silva.
As always, Forza Milan!
Article by Abdelrahman Kurdieh