As David Moyes of Manchester United can attest, poor results early on in the season can lead to a wave of media-induced pressure.
Over in Italy, Massimiliano Allegri and his AC Milan side are currently experiencing a similar epiphany: After nine games, they find themselves 16 points behind the early leaders, the unbeaten and imperious pace-setters Roma.
Despite finishing last season in strong fashion—losing just once between the turn of the year and the culmination in May—the Rossoneri have been underwhelming. Having lost four games and drawn twice, they have dropped more points this season than they have won.
In addition, able to boast a phalanx of attacking talent and perennially known as one of the league's prolific teams, they have been unusually profligate: 16 goals scored and 16 goals conceded—more than 17th place Catania have leaked—is not title-winning form.
Their statistics pale in comparison to those of Roma: They have lower pass success (84 percent to 86), they have completed fewer interceptions (16 to 13) and they find themselves restricted to long-range shots (50 percent compared to Roma's 46).
Whilst there are still 29 games still to play, it is unlikely that Milan can end a three-year wait and bring the Scudetto back to San Siro. Even if Roma (as well as Napoli and Juventus) were not in such scintillating form, Milan have just looked far too mediocre.
With this in mind, it is optimum time for the club to have announced impending new signings. Spiky-haired flair player Keisuke Honda will arrive on a free transfer in January, whilst Valencia's Adil Rami will partner his French compatriot Philippe Mexes in defence after signing on loan (with both transfers reported here by Simone Bargellini at Sky Sports).
Let's now take a look at five players who are either rumoured to be unsettled or could be within Milan's price range and all of whom could provide the catalyst for a major comeback.