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The Coaching Conundrum


First there was Conte. After undermining and then firing Seedorf last season, Milan let it slip out that Inzaghi was not their first choice last summer, and that Conte had agreed to terms with the club before waiting it out for the National Team. So it was inevitable that when Inzaghi’s Milan started to slip, that more rumors would begin. Amongst the forerunners, Fiorentina’s Montella, who has been linked by the press to Milan so many times in the past, but has always denied any approach from Milan. And then Conte again, as his results with Italy have been lacking. So with a shortage of options, the press quickly grabbed onto the news that Milan had inquired about Empoli’s Maurizio Sarri. But is he really the man Milan need?

It's lonely at the top... even lonelier in 10th place

Sarri is an interesting choice. In his 25 years of coaching, he has coached 17 different teams in Serie B and mostly Serie C1 and C2. But he’s in his third season at Empoli, and he earned them promotion last year from Serie B. Now he’s got Empoli in 15th, I suppose that’s respectable for a promoted side, and suddenly Milan want him? Does that mean they expect to be relegated? Or that finishing 15th with a squad that takes 3rd in the wage bill category is okay with them? What am I missing here?

I know Milan want experience… but just what experience is it that they want? Because if you’re aiming to move up in the world, shouldn’t you hire a coach that has at least coached at the level you want to be at? Imagine Sarri coaching in the Champions League or even the Europa League... they don’t think he’d be in way over his head? But then again, he does have the brains to play Saponara in every possible game, which is more than I can say for any of Milan’s recent tacticians.

After only 25 years of coaching, he's finally coaching his first season in Serie A

Arrigo Sacchi has reportedly praised Sarri, but perhaps that just a way to get some positive press after his horrible racist comments a couple of weeks ago by siding with the media darling of the day. Has anyone even noticed that this season is also Sarri’s first season in Serie A? Does mostly not winning in the lower divisions really constitute the “experience” Milan are looking for? And why do fans think Sarri is coming to Milan this season? Coaches in Serie A can only coach one Serie A team per season. If Milan are that desperate that they are looking down the table to try to move up, that’s not even an option for this year. Plus, there would be a lot of other choices available in the summer, so singling out Sarri as a new first choice is quite strange.

Which begs the question: who will coach Milan this season? Does it even make any kind of sense to make a change now? And if, going forward, Milan are looking to a coach like Sarri, who is an older, poor man’s version of Allegri at best, where will Milan even be playing next year? Or even the next?

A warning to anyone seeking the Milan bench: Nothing is sacred and no one is safe

The truth is, the coach is the least of Milan’s concerns right now. With so much turnover in the squad and so much volatility and uncertainty in management, who could possibly coach this team to a better finish? Which kind of seems like what they really had in mind when they turned to Inzaghi in the first place. They made a €10m “error” with Seedorf, and since they couldn’t get a winning coach like Conte, Inzaghi was their inexpensive plan B. A coach with Milan pedigree to try to win back the fans and serve as a diversion for all of their douchebaggery. But now, the fans are the least of their worries. And neither is winning, apparently. It’s almost as if they are aiming for the lower divisions, prepping for relegation. And if that is the case, then Sarri’s your man.


This post inspired by the music of Muse’s “Psycho”


Our next match is
Milan vs. Cagliari
Saturday, March 21 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
*Note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time