Why one candidate stands out as smart option if Milan decide to sack Giampaolo

Giampaolo AC Milan

Our win in Genoa on Saturday night may only turn out to be a temporary reprieve for Marco Giampaolo as speculation is rife that Milan are considering a coaching change.

As noted by MilanNews, the hierarchy are said to be considering their options, with the more unlikely outcome being that they stick with Giampaolo.

SEE MORE: Five key talking points as Milan fail to convince but grind out win vs Genoa

The alternative option is that a change is made, with Luciano Spalletti and Stefano Pioli said to be at the top of the shortlist, followed by Rudi Garcia and Claudio Ranieri while Gennaro Gattuso is also mentioned as an outside bet.

It’s important to firstly note that if a change is indeed decided upon, this is now the ideal time to make it. With the international break upon us, bringing in a new coach this week will give him time to settle at Milanello and begin working with a core group of players to prepare them for Lecce on October 20.

In turn, Paolo Maldini and Co. must act swiftly and decisively if they believe that a change is necessary, and while opinion will undoubtedly differ, there appears to be a stand-out candidate to step in for Giampaolo.

Spalletti perhaps most realistic, sensible option

If Milan decide to bring the curtain down on Giampaolo’s tenure this week, they must make the right appointment now to ensure that we secure Champions League qualification.

Particularly after our poor start to the campaign, we need a tactician with experience at the top level and who specifically knows what it takes to secure a top-four finish in Serie A. Milan simply can’t afford to take another gamble on a coach who lacks a proven track record at that level as if they do, they may as well leave it as it is and give the current boss longer.

With the above in mind, it’s difficult to see how Pioli, Garcia or Ranieri would be sensible appointments given their shortcomings in the past, while Gattuso would be a safe bet given his familiarity with the squad but would he necessarily be a long-term solution given his own flaws last season?

As noted by Calciomercato, via Sport Mediaset, it has been suggested that Massimiliano Allegri’s salary demands would complicate his return to San Siro, while BBC Sport previously noted after his exit from Juventus this past summer that he insisted he would take a year out of the game to regroup.

While that rules him out of the equation, Calciomercato add that Arsene Wenger is seemingly considering a position at FIFA, and so that would effectively rule out two experienced, proven coaches who could have been an ideal solution to fill the void Giampaolo leaves behind if he departs.

In turn, the shortlist is becoming shorter already and of the remaining names, Spalletti is surely the smartest move as the former Roma and Inter boss has delivered Champions League qualification on several occasions in recent years, and at this stage that is all we need to focus on.

With a 54% win percentage in his first stint at Roma, followed by a 50% winning ratio at Inter, he’s unlikely to turn us into world-beaters. However, in his last four seasons coaching in Serie A, he has finished in third, second and fourth in back-to-back campaigns. That’s the kind of track record we need for the here and now this season.

As per Gianluca Di Marzio though, Spalletti has two years remaining on his Inter contract and so an agreement would have to be found between the relevant parties to free him up to take a new job on.

Time running out for Giampaolo

If Giampaolo is sacked in the coming days, it will undoubtedly be a huge disappointment for all concerned that his stint didn’t work out as planned.

However, four defeats in seven league games having scored just six goals in those outings and conceded nine, the numbers simply don’t reflect well on him and neither do the performances, including against Genoa this past weekend.

Milan continue to play without identity, quality and the influence of Giampaolo with his tactical attributes and preferred brand of football, and ultimately that has been the hugely concerning factor in our underwhelming start to the campaign.

Some will argue that he hasn’t been given enough time, but at this level you’re only afforded so much until results are necessary, and Milan haven’t looked like improving for the most part while the Italian tactician has continued to make poor decisions along the way to add more scrutiny and criticism.

It could still be decided that he will stay in charge, but there is a real fear that Milan would be making a mistake as the ideal time to shake things up is now before we return from the international break and of all the names mentioned, Spalletti is surely the best option that is genuinely available.

Plan B, ambitious long-term approach

Conversely, there is a longer-term approach that Milan could adopt by looking for a short-term fix for the rest of the season with the hope that it yields the desired result in the form of a return to Europe’s top table and wait until next summer for a potentially major appointment.

Allegri could be free by then, or with Tottenham struggling and question marks raised over his future, as per BBC Sport, an ambitious swoop for Mauricio Pochettino or a similarly high-profile manager could be the ideal strategy and vision to get us back on top.

That seems unlikely and there have been no reports to suggest Pochettino is on the radar, and so it arguably comes back to Spalletti again to be the man to step in if Giampaolo departs as there is no guarantee we’ll seal Champions League football with one of the short-term options.