Speculation remains rife that Marco Giampaolo will be named as AC Milan’s next coach, and there is certainly an argument to be made that he’ll be an astute appointment.
As noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Paolo Maldini is expected to be appointed as technical director in the coming days while Giampaolo is said to be the favourite to be named as Gennaro Gattuso’s successor.
While there has yet to be an official announcement confirming the move, it has been widely reported across the Italian media over the past few days and so it would arguably be a surprise if another candidate emerged as the front runner at this stage.
So, would Giampaolo be a good appointment? On one hand, question marks could be raised over his lack of experience, pedigree and ability to take charge of a European giant and deal with the pressure at the highest level.
The 51-year-old has yet to finish higher than ninth place in Serie A and has no notable honours to his name which in turn makes it a possible gamble.
However, there are undoubtedly many positives to consider too and the majority of those revolve around his tactical qualities and man-management skills in developing and improving younger players while also getting his teams playing with an identity and direction.
Return to a 4-3-1-2?
It’s a system that many Milan fans have been crying out for in recent years, but the general consensus amongst recent coaches has been to stick with a 4-3-3.
While it has been effective, it can often become predictable and makes it difficult to break teams down if they are set up with an organised defensive shape.
In turn, variety and a different approach is needed, and that is what a 4-3-1-2 would provide with different dynamics in the final third while maintaining that defensive solidity off the ball too.
Who will benefit from the switch?
With Patrick Cutrone struggling for playing time again this past season, he may well get a more prominent role playing alongside Krzysztof Piatek in a front pairing, while with Andre Silva set to return from his spell at Sevilla, the Portuguese international could get another chance to make his mark.
Piatek was often left isolated and frustrated after his initial impact on arrival, but with a chance to link up with another striker and have creative players closer to him in the final third, it could help him maximise his qualities too.
Lucas Paqueta made a significant difference after arriving in January, and moving the classy Brazilian ace into the trequartista role could be an ideal switch to allow him to be the creative hub in the side and make things happen in the final third.
Hakan Calhanoglu has proven he can play on the left of a midfield three effectively, offering technical quality and passing as well as hard work and defensive effort off the ball.
Lucas Biglia could also emerge as a key figure with Giampaolo’s system relying on a deep-lying midfield man pulling the strings in front of the defence, while Franck Kessie could offer energy and tenacity as well as his surging runs forward.
Energetic and attacking full-backs will also benefit with Andrea Conti and Davide Calabria capable of ticking the right boxes, while given Alessio Romagnoli and Mattia Caldara’s composure on the ball, there is still hope that partnership will blossom at Milan in the future.
That’s all without considering the possible arrivals this summer should Giampaolo get the backing of Elliott to add reinforcements to the squad, and he’ll hope he can stamp his mark on the group by bringing in players who fit his ideas and style.
See the tactics of coach Marco Giampaolo .. How to get out of high pressure and gradient ball
— ACMilanSwiss (@AcMilanSwiss) June 3, 2019
Giampaolo right man for the job?
With Antonio Conte joining Inter and Maurizio Sarri seemingly set for Juventus, as per the Guardian, Milan’s list of candidates is arguably an ever-shortening one.
While he doesn’t have the track record to suggest that he will seamlessly lead Milan towards immediate success, Giampaolo arguably fits the bill in terms of Elliott’s strategy moving forward in building with younger players.
The Italian tactician has proven he can tick that box with the likes of Milan Skriniar, Dennis Praet, Joachim Andersen and Patrik Schick all flourishing under his stewardship, while he could finally bring a refined style of play to Milan if the players buy into his methods.
From short, sharp and intricate passing in the build-up play to the pressing game which starts from the front, it’s a modernised way of seeing the game and with Arrigo Sacchi lavishing him with praise this week, as noted by MilanNews.it, perhaps Giampaolo could silence his detractors if he does land the Milan job as not only must we win, but we hope to do so in style.