Clarence Seedorf's Time as AC Milan Manager Was Never Destined to Be a Success

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Clarence Seedorf's Time as AC Milan Manager Was Never Destined to Be a Success
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

AC Milan are reportedly close to relieving Clarence Seedorf of his managerial post, with youth-team coach and former striker Filippo Inzaghi taking over as head coach.

Vittorio Campanile of reports that Milan were looking at Sevilla boss and Europa League winner Unai Emery, only to plump for Inzaghi due to the cost involved with luring Emery away.

While expectations will doubtless be high for Inzaghi to improve the team significantly and enjoy more success than Milan's eighth-place finish this term, he will have to heed the troubles that Seedorf has gone through in only a short spell with the club, issues which meant he was never likely to be a great success.

When the Dutch former midfielder arrived at Milan in January, he was coming straight from a playing role—he was still with Botafogo in Brazil at the time.

Former manager Massimiliano Allegri was sacked in mid-January, with the club in 11th place and having managed an average of just 1.16 points per game in the first half of the season, winning only five from 19. They sat 10 points behind rivals Inter Milan, who were fifth.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Seedorf certainly improved things from that perspective: Milan won 16 games all told in 2013-14—11 out of 19 in the second half of the campaign—giving them an average points per game of 1.84 over the same time. By Serie A's end, Inter finished in fifth, but only three points ahead of Milan.

Clearly there had been great improvement by Seedorf, but even in such a short space of time he had several rifts with the Milan board, with president Silvio Berlusconi stating he was unhappy with results and the way the team was playing, per Reuters (h/t Eurosport).

And, in truth, unless Seedorf was given another entire season, there was never going to be a vast difference in the Rossoneri's style of football.

Milan's transfers over the past few seasons have been of a shockingly poor standard for a team used to competing at the higher end of Europe's silverware stakes.

Luca Bruno/Associated Press/Associated Press
Valter Birsa, 27-year-old Slovenian attacking midfielder: Milan's midfield signing of the summer.

Valter Birsa, Adel Taarabt, Michael Essien...with respect to those players and their abilities, they are not individuals (at least now, in the case of the latter) who can compete with the greats who came before them, who were title-winners, European champions, genuine world-beaters.

Unless Seedorf was given funds to change that, it was unlikely that huge strides would have been made, certainly not between January and May.

In addition, despite Seedorf's vast playing experience, he was coming into the coaching job cold; still a player when he joined, he'd never been an assistant manager, never managed youth teams or gained experience at another club first. While that doesn't have to be completely prohibitive over the longer term, he was always going to make mistakes in his initial months on the job.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Being asked to be nearly perfect from the beginning was never a realistic target. The Dutchman was clearly a mere stopgap until the end of the season.

Now Inzaghi is primed to take over and will face many of the same battles his former team-mate did. Will he get longer to iron out the problems of the first team? Does his time as a youth coach prepare him adequately?

One thing is for sure: The fans will, initially at least, be supportive of their former favourite and will believe he has the mental attributes to set the team back on track. There's no Champions League football for AC Milan next season, and without big investment there's not likely to be any next term either, with Juve and Roma looking like two clear favourites and only three spots available.

Either way, it's another big ask for an inexperienced boss, and Milan's problems do not start and end with naming the perfect manager.

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