The Trials and Tribulations of AC Milan PDF Print E-mail

Its starting to look like the worst kept secret in football, Leonardo looks almost a certainty to leave as manager of AC Milan in my opinion, but I must ask why? Is it because he is tactically naïve? Or is it because of a lack of backing from a chairman who says he is tactically naïve? I would have to say the latter and heres why.

In the transfer windows this season there was only one major transfer this season, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and so far he has struggled to fit into the Milan set-up. Surely if you want a manager to succeed you need to back him with quality signings in areas that are needed. There are huge problems at Milan when players like Nesta or Pato are injured because there is no one to fall back on. Milan relies far too much on Nesta. Nesta is unlikely to go a full season without an injury now because of his age. Nesta is at the age of 34 and surely would be considering retirement had it not been for the incompetence of Kaladze and Favalli in defence. Things got so bad in defense this season, reports have claimed that Paolo Maldini, who is 41 years old was begged to come out of retirement by Leonardo and Adriano Galliani. Maldini was quite right to turn down this offer from the Rossoneri because he should be enjoying his retirement after over 20 years of loyal service to them. Milan cannot afford to rely as heavily as they do or have done in the past on older players.

Another obvious problem in the squad is the goalkeeping situation. At the start of the season we had Marco Storari, who was inexcusably sent on loan to Sampdoria, the injury prone Abbiati, who’s best days are gone, but he’s clearly better than the erratic Dida who doesn’t fill anybody with confidence. Who does Milan sign? That’s right 34 year old Monaco goalkeeper Flavio Roma. So far this season Flavio has not played a single game for Milan and it looks unlikely he will ever play for Milan so why does Milan sign him? So that he can sit on the bench every week and collect a pay cheque? Has Milan really turned into the employment office?

In Midfield, 23-year old Ignazio Abate has been the revelation of this season and he should have a bright future ahead of him, but will he choose to spend the remainder of it in a Milan jersey, when the upper-management have shown very little ambition since the Athens triumph in 2007? The same question would apply to Pato, who has had way too much pressure on his young shoulders since arriving in 2007. Pato has had a long-term injury and its not surprising when you consider the burden he’s had to carry this season. Several clubs have expressed an interest and it’s not surprising given the talent he has. It certainly would not be a surprise to me if he left Milan for the good of his career, particularly if Milan do not change their transfer policy.

Also why does Berlusconi really think it’s a good idea to publicly humiliate Leonardo and Galliani at the press conferences? Since becoming Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi has done nothing more than use AC Milan as a political tool. He has not backed Galliani or Leonardo with the transfer funds and also Kaka was sold for €65m to “Balance the books”. Does he not realize that the problem at Milan is that they are not receiving the right funds to bring in key players in the transfer market? Leonardo is fed up of all of the unfair criticisms from Berlusconi and rightfully so. How many good transfers can you think of since the sale of Andriy Shevchenko in 2006? I could count them with one hand to be honest.

Its worth remembering that despite all of these problems at Milan, Leonardo has lead Milan to the Top 3 at this point of the season despite all of these problems. To sum it all up, Leonardo leaving is simply a quick-fix idea, instead of sacking the manager or driving him to quit, why not help him by providing sufficient funds to bring in the quality players to allow the older players to retire gracefully.