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The Archive

April 2020

Serie A season to resume in June?
27.4 || webmaster

Following this evening’s announcement, Serie A clubs can begin preparing to start training in groups from May 18 and playing games from June 2, so the season could end in mid-July.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held a lengthy press conference this evening, in which he announced Phase 2 of the coronavirus pandemic response will begin from May 4.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

AC Milan try again for Florentino
27.4 || webmaster

Milan will make another attempt to sign Florentino from Benfica this summer, perhaps including Lucas Paqueta as part of the deal, claim reports.

The 20-year-old midfielder was already a strong target last year, but they were put off by the €120m release clause in his contract.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

PSG go for Theo Hernandez
27.4 || webmaster

Milan have reportedly warned Paris Saint-Germain that Theo Hernandez will cost at least €60m, having tripled his price-tag in one season.

According to le10sport in France and in Italy, the 22-year-old left-back is the prime target to replace Layvin Kurzawa this summer.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Donnarumma open to AC Milan extension
27.4 || webmaster

Gianluigi Donnarumma is open to extending his contract with Milan, claim Tuttosport, but not if it means taking a pay cut.

The goalkeeper will be a free agent in June 2021 and the struggles to qualify for Europe mean belts continue to be tightened at San Siro.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

AC Milan revive Jovic interest?
27.4 || webmaster

Milan have reportedly revived their interest in Real Madrid striker and Ante Rebic’s former Eintracht Frankfurt teammate Luka Jovic.

Jovic was one of the players who came up for discussion during talks between Madrid and Milan last summer.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Zlatan stays in Sweden for now
22.4 || webmaster

Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic will remain in Sweden until Serie A has set a date for the resumption, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 38-year-old superstar went back to his home country during the self-isolation period, where he can still train with Hammarby to keep fit throughout the current lockdown in Italy.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

PSG look at Theo Hernandez
22.4 || webmaster

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a summer swoop for Milan full-back Theo Hernandez, according to reports in France.

The 22-year-old was signed from Real Madrid in July 2019 for €20m and has been a sensation so far, with six goals and two assists in 25 games between Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Malago confident of May 4 training
22.4 || webmaster

CONI President Giovanni Malagò is confident Serie A players can resume training from May 4. “There are 387 disciplines that have been shut down, but we are prepared.”

The coronavirus pandemic put a halt to sport all over Europe from mid-March, but Italy was the first European country to be badly hit and seems to be moving towards Phase 2 from May 4.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Calhanoglu seeks AC Milan extension
22.4 || webmaster

Hakan Calhanoglu is hoping to extend his contract with Milan, claims the Corriere dello Sport newspaper, just weeks after his departure seemed inevitable.

The 26-year-old Turkey international is tied down until June 2021, having joined from Bayer Leverkusen for €23m in the summer of 2017.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Boban and AC Milan in legal dispute
22.4 || webmaster

The dispute between Milan and former sporting director Zvonimir Boban could end up in court, according to Tuttosport.

The Croatian was sacked by the Rossoneri last month after an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport where he attacked CEO Ivan Gazidis for having ‘gone behind our back’ by contacting Ralf Rangnick for next season.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

AC Milan: What’s the Plan?
22.4 || webmaster

Top Clubs in Decline

As with any sport, every team has its season, and one major topic of discussion among football pundits is the ebb and flow of the best clubs. The Premier League in the UK, in particular, has seen discussions, think pieces, and entire podcasts dedicated to detailing the downfall of top teams.

After all, the UK has seen the fall of Manchester United following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013. Nearby, Arsenal suffered the same fate in 2018 when manager Arsène Wenger left the club. Some even have their eye on Real Madrid for a swift plummet following Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus, though many still keep faith in manager Zinedine Zidane to keep the prestigious team on track.

However, none have suffered quite like Milan in terms of a swift plummet in the past decade. Once not only one of the greatest clubs in Italy’s Serie A, but also a formidable force throughout European football competitions, the club attracted and groomed great talent.

However, since Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the team to a great final season in 2010-11, the club has slid year by year into the ranks of a laughable squad. Many don’t place the blame on players for Milan’s downfall, but rather on the performance of sports directors and chairmen.

Ivan Gazidis returned as Chairman for the 2018-19 season, which saw Milan take 5th place in the Serie A. However, the next season saw the team back in 11th after only 11 games, with odds from leading bookmakers keeping their eye on the likes of Juventus, Lazio, and Inter Milan. Sure, Milan clawed their way into 7th place before the season’s end, but that’s par for the course for the past decade.

Though still the topic of debate nearly ten years later, fans and pundits wonder what exactly went awry with Milan. Could the fall be squarely placed on something like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva moving to Paris Saint-Germain in 2012? Or is it a problem from higher up, like others suggest, with responsibility falling on decision-makers like Gazidis?

A Quick Look

Before moving forward to speculate how Milan can remedy their current position, it’s worth your while to examine how they climbed the ranks to one of Europe’s greatest football powers to begin with. Many have chalked the club’s greatness up to an all-star cast of players, each of which were in the top of their game at the height of their career, and managed to pull together into a cohesive, unbeatable unit.

Players like Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Cafu, Paolo Maldini, and, of course, Kaka were able to take Milan to a 2003 and 2007 Champions League title. They also managed to pull multiple Serie A titles and qualify for the Champions League finals multiple times. However, following a tough loss to Liverpool in 2007, many of the players listed above were either transferred or retired.

After the 2007 season, star players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Massimo Ambrosini, Thiago Silva, and Kevin Prince-Boateng helped to keep the team afloat. However, many speculate that without the original star cast that featured Nesta, Maldini, and Kaka, the team wasn’t able to recover fully.

There was also managerial overturn, and, following the final Serie A title grab in the 2011 season, Milan has yet to recover. As it was with the original cast, the likes of Ibrahimovic, Silva, and Ambrosini were also lost to transfers and retirements. Aside from the Supercoppa Italiano, likened often to the Community Shield, Milan hasn’t touched any ‘silverware’ since 2011.

Loss of Players, Managerial Turnover, And…

Aside from loss of key players, and managerial turnover, Milan has been stricken by financial crises throughout the decade. In fact, despite the fact that the team has had an abysmal performance in the past decade, the club has spent nearly as much as the likes of top-performing franchises Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain. That means that star clubs like Real Madrid and Liverpool outperformed Milan on a tighter budget.

The team has spent huge dollars on the likes of Leonardo Bonucci in 2017, as well as a return of Silva and Paqueta. Some point to these flippant expenditures as part of the club’s problem, and, given Milan has seen a triple turnover of owners since 2014, it’s highly likely that bleeding money buying big names isn’t what the club really needs.

The director and manger turnover has led to headaches in paperwork and the squandering of small fortunes. The most recent owners, an American group known as Elliott Management, claim that they’ve saved the club from bankruptcy—but football isn’t about big bucks, big names, or even winning huge titles.

In fact, Milan’s return to infamy may rely on this barebones reinterpretation of what football is all about: getting out on the pitch and playing for the love of the sport. It seems that the more money, time, and attention is paid to the overhead of running a club, which certainly isn’t simple, has detracted from what major clubs need to do best—and that’s foster the game. If a team can’t afford a big-name player, then they should nurture one sat on the bench.

While the US’s MLS is largely considered a retirement league for Europe’s strongest footballers, its few blossoming franchises may be worth a gander for those at Milan. Much like the Italian club, the Toronto and Atlanta-based teams aren’t turning any heads like the all-star franchises of the Premier League or La Liga.

However, as bottom-tier teams, Toronto FC and Atlanta FC have little to lose, and their franchises are improving because the clubs are forced to stick to the basics based on finances and fandom. This means they’re pouring what money and resources are available into their youth teams; they’re developing talent on the field; they’re cultivating a strong team in the boardroom; they’re focusing on building team camaraderie and meeting small goals.

Sure, the MLS clubs may never stand a chance at taking on top European competition, but neither does Milan at this point. By reverting back to basics (even the painfully basic), the club can rebuild itself, player by player and game by game.

Torino join Bonaventura bids
10.4 || webmaster

Giacomo Bonaventura is expected to leave Milan as a free agent, so Torino, Roma, Fiorentina, Napoli and Atalanta are in a bidding war to get his signature.

The midfielder’s contract is due to expire in June and multiple sources report he is not being offered a new deal.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Zlatan training with Hammarby
10.4 || webmaster

Hammarby have revealed that Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic attended a training session with the Swedish club during the current lockdown in Italy.

The club’s sporting director Jesper Jansson confirmed the 38-year-old, who owns 25 per cent of the club, took part in the training session behind closed doors.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

AC Milan approach Tonali
10.4 || webmaster

Sandro Tonali seems set to leave Brescia after the current campaign and the latest report claims Milan have joined the chase with Juventus and Inter.

Despite struggling to help Brescia to a safe spot in Serie A, currently bottom of the League, the 19-year-old has impressed enough to attract interest from the top clubs in Italy.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

AC Milan won't keep Saelemaekers
10.4 || webmaster

Milan are unlikely to take up their option to buy Alexis Saelemaekers from Anderlecht, so have spent €3.5m on so far just 32 minutes of football.

The 20-year-old right-sided winger was signed in January on loan for €3.5m with option to buy for another €3.5m.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Emery up for AC Milan job?
10.4 || webmaster

Unai Emery is emerging as another potential candidate for the Milan bench next season, along with Luciano Spalletti or Ralf Rangnick in a dual role.

Stefano Pioli’s future seems to be up in the air, having taken over when Marco Giampaolo was sacked just a couple of months into the campaign.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Paqueta floated by Benfica for Florentino
4.4 || webmaster

Reports are growing that Benfica have targeted Milan flop Lucas Paquetà, so could include Florentino Luis in an exchange deal.

The Rossoneri paid Flamengo €38.4m plus bonuses in January 2019, but the Brazilian midfielder has not lived up to expectations and was already on the market mid-season.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Spalletti new AC Milan favourite?
4.4 || webmaster

Luciano Spalletti is becoming the new favourite to take the Milan job next season, according to reports, as Ralf Rangnick is getting cold feet.

The Rossoneri have improved considerably under Stefano Pioli, who replaced Marco Giampaolo just a couple of months after Gennaro Gattuso walked away, but the club is already looking to the future.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Baresi: 'AC Milan will succeed'
4.4 || webmaster

Milan legend Franco Baresi has written an open letter, assuring fans ‘we will succeed together in taking our great club to the top’.

Baresi is the ultimate one-club man, making over 700 appearances for Milan between 1978 and 1997 and winning six Scudetti, as well as three European Cups/Champions Leagues.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

Maldini Jr: 'I'm over Coronavirus'
4.4 || webmaster

Milan starlet Daniel Maldini has confirmed that he is ‘no longer showing any symptoms’ for coronavirus.

Daniel and father Paolo were both struck down by COVID-19 last month, but the young attacker assures he is now fit enough to resume training at home.

Read the rest on Football Italia.

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