If the media are to believed, AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is the one of the most sought after managers in world football with Real Madrid and Chelsea among the sides linked with the Italian boss for the 2009-10 season.
However, this writer struggles to see why Ancelotti’s stock is so high at a time when his own job at Milan must be considered seriously under threat.
The Rossoneri are used to a fair amount of success over the years – with seven European Cup victories making them the second most successful team in European football – and given some of the star names we have seen in AC Milan jerseys like Marco van Basten, Franco Baresi, Ruud Gullit and Kaka, it’s not hard to see why.
However, despite possessing one of the strongest squads Milan have had since the start of the new millenium, Milan have vastly underachieved under Ancelotti. Even taking into account the points deduction which hampered their 2007-08 campaign, Milan retained the core of their squad yet struggled to make any sort of impact in Serie A.
There can certainly be no excuses for their poor displays this year, in which they were out of the title race almost as soon as it began. Even in the UEFA Cup, which looks likely to be won by a side such as Hamburg or Dynamo Kiev -neither of whom are strong enough to compete in the Champions League – Milan were humbled despite seemingly having done enough to see off Werder Bremen.
It could be argued Ancelotti rotated his squad, but the reality is he has an embarrassment of riches to choose from. What manager wouldn’t want the headache of choosing a forward line from a squad which includes Kaka, Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi, Andrei Shevchenko and last season’s Serie A top scorer Marco Borriello?
There is a certain irony that the man who has been most influential in recent weeks has been the evergreen Inzaghi. Despite having the exciting young talents of Kaka and Pato, Milan have failed to plan adequately for the future and still rely on their veterans like Inzaghi, Pirlo, Gattuso and Maldini.
Young stars – most notably Yohan Gourcuff, who is still contractually a Milan player – have failed to break into the Milan side. Borriello, a revelation at Genoa last year, has failed to make any sort of impact at the San Siro.
If ever a club needed freshening up it was Milan and far from trying to persuade their manager to say, they must surely realise that this is indeed a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to restore the Rossoneri to their former glory.
Written by Danny Watson, a professional sports journalist who blogs about football news.