8 Big Decisions Facing AC Milan Head Coach Filippo Inzaghi
Filippo Inzaghi has the unenviable task of carrying a depressed Milan organization out of these last few dark years and back to being truly competitive.
The Clarence Seedorf experiment became a massive failure after the former Rossoneri legend was sacked after only being hired for six months.
With yet another inexperienced coach at the helm, it's time for Inzaghi to make a few important decisions that could change the course of Milan's success for years to come.
Here are some of the most important decisions that will have to be made.
Time to Truly Rebuild?
Signing old, washed-up former stars on free contracts is hardly the mark of a team trying to rebuild.
Rebuilding for the future means giving the youth a real chance.
With players like Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Bryan Cristante and Riccardo Saponara in the ranks, Inzaghi will not be short of quality when it comes to unearthing the next superstar.
It's also the most financially sound way for a club that simply cannot compete with some of Europe's most lavish spenders to field a few stars. Historically, Milanello has fielded a laundry list of superstars that became focal points in various Champions League titles.
Decide on a Stable Back Line
The main Achilles' heel of Milan's formation the past few years was constantly changing the four-man back line on a weekly basis.
Between Massimiliano Allegri and Seedorf, a different central defensive duo was used from one game to another.
Now that Milan have a few quality centre-backs on the roster, one can hope that the ideal pair can be chosen.
So far, expect ex-PSG defender Alex and either Adil Rami or Christian Zapata to get the nod from Day 1.
With how well Zapata performed in the World Cup for Colombia, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was given a chance to take back his starting place.
Defer to Berlusconi or Stand Up to Beliefs?
It's no secret that Silvio Berlusconi has a major say on technical decisions at Milan.
The outspoken Milan president has often voiced his displeasure if a coach makes a roster decision that isn't up to his ideology.
With Inzaghi, it'll be interesting to see how much he defers to the president and how much he stands up for what he believes in.
It's a fine line to cross for any manager if they do wish to take their own stance, as President Berlusconi understands the game as well as most coaches and can undermine them.
How to Handle Mario Balotelli
With Mario Balotelli looking to stay at the club, the relationship between Inzaghi and the mercurial talent will be one to keep an eye on.
Cesare Prandelli had some stern words to say about Super Mario following the World Cup, specifically mentioning that the player is not a superstar and must step out of his virtual world if he wants to reach his potential.
Balotelli could once again be the focal point in Milan's attack, but there will be other options for Inzaghi to ruminate about if his signature star cannot deliver.
Set Realistic Expectations
This is one of the most important facets of the new Inzaghi tenure.
While the past two years have been filled with broken promises, confusing transfers and unfulfilled wishes, it would be refreshing to see the new coach come out and say exactly what direction the team is taking—even if it is not the perfect answer for the fans.
With most of the top teams in Serie A strengthening, it'll be an uphill task to get back to relevancy.
Which Formation to Use Going Forward?
Last season saw Milan use a variety of formations that didn't really allow the team to grow accustomed to one particular tactical setup.
While Allegri awkwardly flipped between formations on a weekly basis, Seedorf was set in his ways with the highly offensive 4-2-3-1, which came with a few critical flaws.
If one seeks to play this type of an attacking lineup, the team must have a unit upfront that is capable and willing to track back and defend.
Balotelli, Adel Taarabt and Jeremy Menez are not known for their workmanlike sacrifices on the defensive end, so a player like El Shaarawy could really be useful for Inzaghi if he chooses to play offensively.
Use Other Competitions to Help Get into Europe or Focus Solely on Serie A?
Even though Adriano Galliani said that getting back into the Champions League is the No. 1 priority, via Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, one must be realistic and realize that the Serie A will be even stronger at the top next season. Teams like Inter, Juventus, Roma, Fiorentina and Napoli are improving as they look to stay in Europe.
Inzaghi could be forced to focus plenty of the team's energy into the Coppa Italia, which is a springboard to get into the Europa League if a team reaches the final. Very often, the winner of the cup is already qualified for a European spot, meaning the second-placed team gets the European place instead.
With Milan out of any European competition next season, focusing on the Coppa Italia and Serie A shouldn't be too much of a task for a roster that will hopefully get deeper as we move further into the summer.
As Team Modernizes, Coach Can Help Cause as Well
Casa Milan's opening this year has created quite a buzz among fans, and one can only hope that the team continues in their efforts to modernize and keep their brand relevant on a worldwide scale.
Hiring a young coach with fresh ideas like Inzaghi is always a risk but could provide unlimited rewards if it goes well.
The player understands what it means to be a Milan player and the tremendous history associated with the badge.
These same words were said six months ago about Seedorf, but hopefully lightning doesn't metaphorically strike twice in this sense.
It's time for Milan to replicate the beauty and grand nature of Casa Milan on the pitch this upcoming season, and hopefully Inzaghi can be the man who leads them back to the glory days.