While the wait continues for the Serie A season to conclude, perhaps irrespective of how it ends, there are major decisions to be made at Milan this summer.
For all the top clubs, one common trait across the board seems to be stability. From the management structure to the coach, his players and the vision of how they want to play the game.
If all the right pieces fall into place it can lead to success, but instead of following that trusted path, Milan have continued to chop and change from top to bottom over the last few years and it has ultimately led to our malaise continuing.
With more talk of change this summer, there are big decisions that need to be made moving forward and time will tell how it impacts us in the long run.
Maldini, infrastructure of management
After Zvonimir Boban’s exit, it remains up in the air in terms of how the management structure will now work and if that means Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara will remain in their current positions.
The way in which the situation developed, CEO Ivan Gazidis’ power move has reiterated that he makes the big decisions with the backing of Elliott, and so time will tell how it develops.
Ideally, given his attachment and importance to Milan as well as his history with the club, Maldini would stay. However, there simply is no point if there is a risk that he will feel undermined as it could ultimately just lead to more fall-outs and more unwanted off-the-pitch distraction while limiting his ability to be influential.
Direction in transfer market
Milan added experience in January and so coupled with the talented young players in the squad, it has created a much-needed balance.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s influence has been key despite the frequent displays of frustration, but having those calm heads and leaders in the dressing room will have helped the others who were perhaps struggling to settle and play with confidence.
Elliott’s remit has always seemingly been to boost the financial strength of the club, increase it’s value and sell for a profit.
We’ve now seen young players with touted potential signed as well as experienced heads, but we still need a serious sense of direction with our signings this summer to work towards a shared vision and to avoid a scenario in which we’re merely adding bits and pieces to fix gaps which in itself adds uncertainty over who and what will work.
Gambling on talented youngsters may work and make a few euros if we have a selling model, but in terms of sustained success on the pitch, which should be the top priority for all concerned, it’s going to lead to mixed results for the most part as we’ve seen this season.
As per the club’s official site last year, Stefano Pioli signed a two-year contract in October and so the expectation as things currently stand is that he’ll be in charge next season.
He has certainly added stability, direction and identity to the side in his tenure thus far and there is little doubt that he has had a positive influence to help us improve after Marco Giampaolo’s struggles.
However, and this is absolutely crucial, if further changes at management level are made, those responsible for hiring him would all be gone. If a new team is drafted in to work alongside Gazidis or if Gazidis takes on those responsibilities himself, he needs the right man, and his man, to be in charge.
That’s so there are no further excuses or scapegoats further down the line, while we need a proven, experienced coach capable of delivering on our objectives even if it means spending money to get him. Everyone at the club from top to bottom needs to have the same vision, fundamentals and philosophies, otherwise we’re leaving ourselves open to being pulled in different directions.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported this week that it’s difficult to see Gianluigi Donnarumma renewing his contract with the club, with his current deal set to expire in 2021.
Still only 21, he’s proven enough on the pitch to show his class and ability to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world, while after the controversy surrounding his contract renewal last time round, he has repaired the damage done to his relationship with the fans and is a pillar of the current side.
Unfortunately, sometimes business and finances take on greater importance than sentiment. In an ideal world we’d keep Donnarumma for many more years. However, through our own failings in being unable to achieve certain objectives to match ambitions and put ourselves in a stronger position, we’re leaving ourselves vulnerable to losing top players.
It’s hoped that somehow a deal can be done to keep Donnarumma at Milan. If not, we’ve already put ourselves in a weak position by edging closer to the final 12 months of his contract and it would be unthinkable to lose him for nothing in 2021. Perhaps a sale will be forced upon us.
The 38-year-old’s deal expires this summer, but there is an option to extend for a further 12 months. According to MilanNews though, the current feeling is that a renewal seems unlikely.
Although he’s no longer in his prime and his frustration on the pitch can have a negative impact on those around him, Ibrahimovic has proven to be a crucial addition since his arrival in January.
He will always be held in high regard by supporters, and he’s shown enough since his return to suggest that he can still do a job for us.
Ultimately, we’re still a club looking to break back into the top four and qualify for the Champions League. Ibra can play a key role in helping us do that next season, perhaps not as a first choice striker week in and week out, but there is surely still a place for him to play for us for at least one more season before we part ways.