Why Jurgen Klopp would be the perfect fit for a struggling AC Milan
AC Milan – a club previously considered as royalty, of aristocratic class, decorated with silverware and adorned with medals, now languishes on the dangerous borders of obscurity. The Serie A club need a revival, and how. Accustomed to winning competitions and hearts in the past, AC Milan is quickly fading into folklore. Plagued by poor management, comprising chiefly of illogical megalomaniacs submerged in the whimsical fantasies of nostalgia, the club has been reduced to a relic showcased within the fancy walls of Casa Milan.
For years, legends have been burned at the stake of the hot-seat. The club’s endless pursuit of birthing its very own version of Pep Guardiola has damaged coaching careers of Leonardo, Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi. None of these managers had the required tools, talent or experience to coach at the highest level but were ruthlessly thrown into the deep end, unprepared. Expectedly, each of these individuals met with ill-fated failure.
With senior members of the glory days having retired from the sport, and essentially having moved out of the club, AC Milan has become a home for universally rejected prima donnas. These braggarts have egos that are bigger than their talent and remuneration demands that scale nonsensical heights. They lack the pride required to wear the esteemed red and black stripes, fail to connect with the supporters and seem unaffected by the club’s rich heritage.
Players of awe-inspiring loyalty and ambassadors of the sport no longer walk down the halls of the club. On the contrary, widely despised footballers such as Jeremy Menez and Philippe Mexes are fundamental pillars of the present Milan side. This team is without an identity, a less talked about issue since the day Carlo Ancelotti boarded a plane to London.
Amidst the media buzz of Ancelotti’s proposed arrival from Madrid, there is a manager available on the market with rare powers of transformation. His name is Jürgen Norbert Klopp.
Klopp is no stranger to rebuilding a club
Little is known about Klopp prior to his engagement with Borussia Dortmund. He is no cap-wearing hippie who got lucky at Dortmund. His accomplishments with Mainz prior to being employed by Die Borussen are applause-worthy.
Appointed as Mainz’s caretaker coach in 2001, ‘Kloppo’ prevented the club’s relegation to the third tier of German football. He earned them promotion in 2004 and helped keep the club in the top tier until 2007. He then joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008. His exploits with Dortmund are finely documented, which include taking a mid-table side and breaking Bayern Munich’s domestic dominance by winning back-to-back league titles, while also steering the club into the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
After achieving years of success, Klopp’s final season at Dortmund has been an unmitigated disaster. His reputation in tatters, Klopp resigned, handing over the reins to Thomas Tuchel, and is now readily available for his next mission. Given Milan’s current status and Klopp’s eagerness to re-establish himself as one of Europe’s foremost managers, there appears the possibility of a relationship which can be mutually rewarding.
What Klopp can bring to AC Milan
The club is on the brink of yet another revolution with rumors surrounding the exit of 10-12 players. Younger, more versatile footballers are being sought after. With Jose Mauri all but signed and sealed, the management appears to be taking the summer mercato seriously. The team must evolve and adapt; a transition Klopp can facilitate.
Klopp’s adamant philosophy about football being played at a high-tempo with players pressing from the very top of the pitch is an ideology that Milan could hugely benefit from. The team’s current lethargic set up makes them painfully predictable and arduous to view. Klopp will infuse drive and ambition into a youthful bunch of footballers, who would naturally translate his beliefs onto the pitch.
Klopp also brings several years of coaching experience, the struggles he endured with Mainz to the apex of success he achieved with Dortmund. This wealth and spectrum of experience will transform the team which has recently witnessed excessive naivety at a tactical level. Being accustomed to losing star talent and seeing them replaced with relatively unknown quantities makes him an interesting proposition for Milan. Moreover, a coach arriving with a wish-list of players who can only be bought by liquidating coveted assets owned by Silvio Berlusconi is likely to be viewed with caution.
According to the Daily Mail, at the end of 2013, Klopp was paid £3.59 million per year at Borussia Dortmund. Jose Mourinho is paid £8.37 million per year at Chelsea and Ancelotti is paid £6.26 million per year at Real Madrid. For a cash-sensitive club like Milan, grabbing a top-level coach at about £4 million a season would be a steal.
Signing Klopp would show intent from Milan
Signing Klopp sends a message to the world of football, a statement of intent that Milan intend on climbing the lofty heights they have ingloriously fallen off. Fans would love a passionate manager, a people person whose vibe will rejuvenate the fatigued supporter. The management would instantly undo a significant portion of the mess they have created by putting a red cap on Klopp’s blonde hair.
Milan, on the fringes of being a fallen giant, are at just about the right place for Klopp to work his magic. If contracted by the club, Klopp stands to gain phenomenally from Milan’s ascent. His aura of being a miracle worker will be renewed, opening doors to greater possibilities, either within the sub-continent, in Spain or on English soil.
His reign will be undoubtedly short-lived, but instantaneous success would validate him as a genuinely world-class manager. Milan will be more accommodating to his requests than his former clubs and he could leave behind a legacy, which a romantic like Klopp yearns for.
This marriage would be a perfect synchrony of need and romance, cemented by mutual dependence for collective growth. Both club and manager, with damaged images, can rise like the phoenix and conquer the world of football, together.