4 Managers Who Could Replace Clarence Seedorf as Manager of AC Milan
Clarence Seedorf finds himself on the hot seat in Milan, despite his acclaimed performance in restoring Milan to relevance since his takeover as manager in mid-January.
Owner Silvio Berlusconi and CEO Adriano Galliani appear to have made up their minds regarding Seedorf, following months of rumors and speculation that Seedorf and Galliani in particular, along with Berlusconi and daughter Barbara Berlusconi, were not seeing eye to eye.
It would be very harsh if Seedorf were to be dismissed about half a year after his initial appointment, especially given the momentum he built towards the end of the season.
To most, it seems clear that the main focus of attention at Milan should be on improving the aging and underperforming playing squad, not on replacing Seedorf.
Regardless, speculation persists, and it may be only a matter of time before Seedorf makes way for the next Milan manager.
Starting from most likely to least likely, here are four candidates Milan may pursue.
"Superpippo" enjoyed a fantastic playing career with the Rossoneri, and now coaches the Milan U-17 side.
He appears to be favored by Galliani, and has not denied his interest in moving up the ranks one day to coach the senior squad.
Under his stewardship, Milan's Allievi Primavera have made great strides and have played in the latter stages of the UEFA Youth League, yet it remains a possibility that Inzaghi will want to take a step up.
Inzaghi still seems reasonably content leading Milan's youth side. Should Milan move to sack Seedorf, however, Inzaghi's route to the managerial role at the San Siro is very likely to be expedited.
As Galliani's choice and as a man very familiar with the Milan hierarchy, he would seem to be the ideal candidate to replace Seedorf.
Of course, much the same was said of Seedorf back in January, given his familiarity with Milan and his own personality, yet he appears to have fallen out of management's good graces rather quickly—and seemingly through no fault of his own.
Inzaghi would be wise to consider his decision very carefully, as now may not be the best time to take over the reigns at Milan for an up-and-coming manager like him. However, there is no guarantee that such an opportunity will arise for him soon, so he would be likely to accept the role if Milan offers it to him.
Another former Milan star, Donadoni has done a fantastic job of bringing Parma back to European relevance.
His side's 4-2 victory over Milan in March heralded his arrival as one of the brightest managerial talents in Italy, and his work with players like Antonio Cassano, Gabriel Paletta and Marco Parolo helped them leapfrog Milan into one of Italy's Europa League spots.
Unlike Seedorf, Donadoni coached in Italy's lower levels, starting out at Lecco in 2001 in the former Serie C1. From there he slowly built his way up to coaching the Italian national side following the 2006 World Cup through the Euro 2008 tournament.
It appears one of Donadoni's strengths is his ability to work with the players he is given—this much appears clear based on this past year alone. He told Gazzetta Dello Sport in March: "I started at Lecco in Serie C, and you cannot ask a kid from Serie C to trap the ball like Van Basten. That would have made me a madman."
Given Milan's very clear squad issues, a manager like Donadoni could be an ideal fit given his ability to bring the best out of his players.
When assessing Milan's squad, there are many players who simply underperformed this year, including Riccardo Montolivo, Ignazio Abate and even Mario Balotelli (relative to expectations).
Factoring in some summer arrivals, Donadoni could be an excellent fit, yet he may be the second choice behind Inzaghi. He may also want to stick around to guide Parma through their first European campaign since 2007.
Fiorentina's young Italian manager would also fit the bill in Milan, having followed the recent trend of players entering management soon after their playing careers have ended.
After his retirement in 2009, he rather swiftly became Roma's caretaker in the second half of the 2010-11 season after head coach Claudio Ranieri resigned.
Following his brief stint in Rome, he coached Catania for a season before settling in Florence.
Huge roster turnover in his first year did not deter him, and his side lost out on the final Champions League spot to Milan on the very final day of the season under controversial circumstances.
It was this ability to take a roster featuring as many as 15 new additions and keep them in contention for a Champions League spot that would appeal to Milan as they look to return to Europe's elite competition once more.
Right now, Montella may be wary of abandoning Fiorentina, who endured a relatively disappointing season given the injuries to some of their star performers like Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez.
The desire may be to stick it out for one more year and make a run for the Champions League again with a healthier side who also have the lure of playing in the Europa League.
Milan will be able to offer Montella a wage increase, but the project may not be enticing enough for him at this time.
A pipe dream at the moment for Milan; Simeone is currently one of the most in-demand managers in world football following his exploits with Atletico Madrid.
Simeone's skill set would be ideal. His ability to motivate his players and keep them cohesive and focused throughout the season has drawn comparisons to the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, among others.
In taking an unfancied Atletico side to the very pinnacle of European football, Simeone has won many admirers the world over.
The run to the final of the Champions League was incredibly impressive, especially given that Atletico had to overcome Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea en route to their agonizing overtime loss against rivals Real Madrid, yet their work in La Liga may have been even more impressive.
A squad far smaller and inferior in quality to Barcelona and Real Madrid refused to slip up and won the title against all odds—rarely even dropping points, especially to their two main rivals.
It is this type of performance that would appeal to Milan, who have underachieved for several seasons now. Simeone offers the promise of a long-term building plan, which he has proven at a club with less resources than Milan has at the moment, even factoring in Italy's economic situation.
Regardless, prying Simeone away from Atletico will be extremely difficult right now given that his stock is at an all-time high.
In addition, Simeone has played for Inter in the past, which may deter him from ever accepting the Rossoneri job.
In any case, however unlikely it may be, Milan would be wise to do their due diligence and see if Simeone would be willing to embark on another rebuilding project. Should they be successful, they will have secured a major coup.
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