Red and Black: The Time is Near

Yes, I’ve found a new job. I’ve moved to Italy to become the new manager of AC Milan!

I was after a rebuilding job at a big club, preferably outside of Germany and England, and Milan fit the bill fairly well.

I did hamstring myself a little bit, wanting to move in the summer and not resign from Frankfurt. I like the option of taking my loyal staff with me! As a result, there weren’t all that many jobs available (until after I moved #managerialmerrygoround).

Today is a bit of a bonus post, so will be a quick(ish) look at how Milan have done so far, and more importantly, how things look there here now…

Milan’s record so far is disappointing, but not disastrous. In the previous six seasons they’ve finished 5th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 4th and 6th last season.

Their last, and only piece of silverware during this save, came way back in January 2019 when they won the Supercoppa. They’ve gone through four full time managers previous to my appointment and the only other major event of note is that they had a takeover as recently as January this year.

The Good:

1 – Staff Overhaul

Like I said, I like to bring my loyal staff with me:

Just the 14 yes-men from Frankfurt!

The staff situation at Milan was surprisingly bad. I assume that when former manager Miguel Herrera was sacked, a bunch of staff went with him. I’ve let a few more go, and replaced them with some of the best staff I had at Frankfurt. We’ll still need a couple more faces.

2 – Transfer Budget

It’s very generous indeed:

We have a £45.5m transfer lined up this summer on top of that too. A good player, but he’ll turn 30 this season, so that seems like a lot of money. More next time on that…

There’s enough money there to get some very good players in, and if we can let a few bits of the dead wood go too, the wage budget shouldn’t need too much tweaking.

3 – Europa League Football

This is a quick and obvious one. European football = good. Despite their poor performance last season, 6th place in Serie A is good enough for qualification direct into the Europa League group stages. Sweet.

4 – The Back 5

It’s a strong unit:

Donnarumma, Calabria and Romagnoli are all very good players and in their prime years. Rodriguez (fresh back from his loan spell at Galatasaray (you idiot Herrera)) is still a very good left back, if approaching the end of his career at 32 years old. Montes is good too, but I’ll be looking to upgrade, after learning from last season with Frankfurt what a difference absolute top quality CB’s can make.

But even without enhancements, this is a back 5 that should be able to compete with almost anyone.

5 – Angelo Gavazzi

The standout young player from the squad:

I’m really looking forward to developing him, he looks a very exciting prospect.

The Bad:

1 – High Wages

As you saw above, whilst there’s room in the budgets, we’re shelling out over £2m a week on wages. I’ll be attempting to clear out some of the poorer quality players, but this might be something we have to live with, as it’s not like the squad is huge, they’re just well paid. I’ll have to keep an eye on the finances, we may end up having to sell good players…

2 – Youth Squads

There’s literally not a single player in the U20 squad that I think will make it.

The U18s are a little better, with three players that I have some hope for. Overall however, there’s nowhere near the level of youth talent I would expect from a team like Milan.

3 – Forward Line

André Silva looks a decent player, although I’m thinking about playing him as an Inside Forward. The other option up top is Rodrigo, who looks a good player, but is entering the final year of his contract in which he will turn 34. Definitely an area to focus on.

4 – Lack of Depth

There’s a disturbing lack of depth to the first team, with a large number of loan deals to Milan about to come to an end. I think at least half a dozen additions are required, particularly in defence and as mentioned above, up front.

5 – Bank Balance

This is relative I guess. With sponsorship money having just come in, there’s £95m in the bank, but that’s not much more than the transfer budget… Which I’m likely to need to spend, because…

The Ugly:

1 – High Expectations


Well, they’re ambitious. My first thought was for a gradual rebuild, but given this demand to finish in the top 4 (with no wiggle room provided from the other competitions), the new plan is to strengthen. Quickly.

2 – Staff Embargo

This one is on me. I clearly said something stupid in the interview that was interpreted as a promise not to sign any more staff. Or maybe it was just that I brought 14 of my own in! We have to manage with who we have until the new year. Not a massive deal.

3 – Terrible Affiliates

One of the first bits of news I got after being appointed, was the cancellation of fifteen lower league affiliate clubs. The ones we have left aren’t much cop. Six non-league Italian sides, a 2nd tier Bulgarian team and a 2nd tier Chinese club. What the hell have you clowns been doing for six years!?

4 – Vultures

Having missed out on Champions League football, there is interest in a fair few of our best talents. Having only just gotten through the door, it may be difficult to persuade them to stay. Romagnoli, Kessié, Gavazzi and André Silva are all getting attention from elsewhere…

5 – Juventus

They’ve won thirteen straight Serie A titles (whilst Milan have finished outside the top 3 since 2012/13):

So they should offer more of a challenge than Bayern did in Germany. It certainly looks ugly, but to be honest, it’s part of what made Serie A appeal to me.

Later this week I’ll post again, as I get properly stuck in to the job, as my journey in Italy begins. Thanks for reading!

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1 Response to Red and Black: The Time is Near

  1. Will be an interesting rebuild and looking at the expectation you need to hit the ground running. Breaking the Juve cycle will give you something to get your teeth in to. Forza Milan 🇮🇹

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