Milan following a dangerous path

Posted by Sumeet Paul

It has been clear for some time that Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi wants change at the club, and it begins with replacing Massimiliano Allegri as manager.

Despite leading the club to a third-place finish, and therefore securing what appeared at one stage to be an unlikely seat amongst Europe’s elite next year, it appears it isn’t enough for the eccentric chief.

-Marcotti: Firing Allegri would be massive mistake
-Ultras back Allegri
-Zapata agrees to long-term Milan stay

Having won the Scudetto in his first season before finishing second behind an unbeaten Juventus last year, Allegri has continually done a solid job. By managing difficult dressing room personalities as well as dealing with the pressure that comes with such a role, he can be relatively satisfied with what he has achieved.

Critics will point toward his dubious selection decisions, while also questioning the level of his tactical ability. It is even more so in Europe, where he has been unable to kick on after reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Yet despite the criticisms, he has delivered in a results-based business domestically and has laid the foundations for what ideally will be a new cycle of success in the years ahead. His motivational skills and man-management have clearly been effective in most instances, so is this just a personal decision or for the good of the club?

The Rossoneri finished just eight points shy of their total from last season. Considering Allegri had to achieve that without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta, to name but a few, it is a remarkable accomplishment given the circumstances and early-season slump.

However, that hasn’t proved enough this past week, as confusion surrounds whether or not he will remain in charge.

Berlusconi reportedly released a statement suggesting that Allegri would leave, while also hinting at a complete organisational re-structuring over the summer. The club later denied the authenticity of the letter, and dismissed reports that they would be searching for a new coach.

Speculation then resurfaced that former Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf would return to replace Allegri, with Paolo Maldini joining in a front office role. While the notion of former players returning to the club is a welcome one, handing the inexperienced Dutchman the reins is surely not the answer.

Berlusconi must understand the importance of the next few years, and how a managerial change at this stage could affect Milan's vision.

If he doesn’t have the confidence in Allegri, then he has the right to make a change. However, by asking Seedorf to step in and continue this project is not only risky, but also a recipe for disaster.

On Wednesday, Allegri met with Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani with speculation rife amongst the Italian media they were to discuss his severance package. Neither gave away any clues when leaving Via Turati, merely suggesting that they had enjoyed a good coffee together.

The Curva Sud later released a statement defending their beleaguered coach, which speaks volumes of the support Allegri does have and the fear factor that surrounds San Siro should he be replaced by his former player.

“We have to have our say on the latest situation that could be detrimental to the future of our beloved and glorious Milan,” the supporters began in a statement on their website.

"Today we find ourselves with a project which has just started which will soon be dismantled because of the choice of the President. We, at the very least, ask that Milan and its fans are respected with decisions which are not made in the moment but with the continuation of a project which a year ago we supported against everything and everyone.:

Milan could well be on the cusp of becoming a force in both Italy and Europe if they successfully continue the work done over the past year. Axing Allegri and bringing in Seedorf may well result in a huge setback in that three-year plan to return to the top.

Allegri out, Seedorf in? If Allegri is to leave, who would you rather see replace him?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

ESPN Conversations