AC Milan head into the weekend's fixture with their 9th manager in five years, with the latest victim, Marco Giampaolo, lasting a mere 3 months in charge. Giampaolo was at the helm for only seven games, the shortest reign in Milan's prestigious history and history is all the Rossoneri seem to have going for them these days.
Milan sit a dismal 13th, only three points above the relegation zone. They also have no European football, having given up their spot in the Europa League to avoid financial fair play punishment. Things don't seem likely to pick up anytime soon either, with fans widely sceptical of new manager Stefano Pioli. The Italian has been out of work since April, with his last job being in charge of a struggling Fiorentina side. Pioli's previous ties to AC Milan's bitter local rivals Inter Milan also seem to have done little to help the situation.
Beyond the field
Milan's problems are not merely confined to the pitch however. The Italian giants have had three different owners since 2014 and haven't finished in the top four since then.
Milan haven't won the league since 2011, back when they were still owned by Silvio Berlusconi. The Italian's ownership was by far the clubs most successful period, with Berlusconi overseeing seven Serie A titles and five Champions League wins. However, this would come to an end in 2017 when Berlusconi was forced to sell to a Chinese consortium due to the clubs rising debts.
This would turn out to be rather dodgy however, with their takeover being based on a hedge fund investment. After failing to pay two instalments on time, Elliott Management, who had helped finance the takeover, took legal action and were granted ownership of the club.
Change the only constant
Each of these changes of ownership have brought changes at all levels of the club. This constant reshuffling of the clubs hierarchy has not helped on the pitch either.
With changes to the sporting director and other senior roles has come a scattergun approach to transfers. Each ownership has bought in its own people and they have then been given the task of fixing the team.
This has led to each person starting the process of rebuilding the squad but then not being there to finish the job, only for a new person with different ideas to be given the role and starting the whole process again.
Having nine different managers has also surely not helped this. No manager has been around long enough to decide which players they like or dislike, let alone to formulate a long term recruitment strategy with the club's sporting director. This has also left the club spending obscene amounts of money without bettering themselves on the pitch, it seems bizarre that a club can be struggling to comply with financial fair play while also having so little quality in the team. This only goes to show how poorly the money has been spent over this tumultuous period.
There is perhaps some hope however, with club executive Ivan Gazidis saying the club had been saved from bankruptcy. This wasn't received particularly well by Milan fans however, who widely saw it as an attempt to deflect from the club's troubles on the pitch. Gazidis also spoke about the club's plans for a new stadium and explained how it will help the club generate money in the long term.
This will likely limit Milan's spending in the short term though, meaning there could be a few more rough years ahead for the Milan faithful. What Milan seem to need right now is a bit of continuity, a steady period, where the manager and board can create a long-term strategy to return to the top of Italian and European football.
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