Can AC Milan winter window signings save under-fire Inzaghi from sack?
If Clarence Seedorf’s short spell in the San Siro dugout as AC Milan head coach is anything to go by, then Filippo Inzaghi cannot count on his cult hero status to save him from the sack.
The Rossoneri, who have no European club competition commitments this season, are 10 points adrift of Napoli (50/1 chances with Coral to win Serie A this term) in the last Champions League place. It’s a big bridge to gap, but Inzaghi will be hoping his January recruitment can go a long way to doing that.
Much like Manchester United, a side that finished seventh in the Premier League in 2013/13, Milan look like fallen giants, currently sitting 11th in Italy’s top-flight.
Having seen San Siro stadium-sharers Inter embark upon a comprehensive winter window overhaul of their midfield and wide options, the Rossoneri could hardly let their bitter rivals hog all the headlines. The Red half of Milan need not worry too much about the Nerazzurri, though, as they sit side-by-side in Serie A with identical goal difference and win-draw-loss records.
Where Inter have added internationals Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia), Lukas Podolski (German) and Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland), Milan have made moves almost exclusively for Italian talent. Liverpool’s Spanish attacking midfielder Suso is an exception to this, though.
Having purchased Chelsea’s £50m flop Fernando Torres, despite an uninspiring loan spell, Milan got the better of a loan swap deal that sent the Spaniard back to boyhood club Atletico Madrid and landing orthodox winger Alessio Cerci in return. When on the books at Torino, he played his best football wide ahead of current Azzurri full back Matteo Darmian.
Although Cerci could be deployed in a support striking role, Suso fits the bill for that spot alongside Japan ace Keisuke Honda and Giacomo Bonaventura. Striker Mattia Destro has finalised his San Siro switch from 6/1 title second-favourites Roma, and this will give the Rossoneri extra competition in attack.
French forward Jeremy Menez has spearheaded a three-pronged attack for much of the season, though incorporating him, Destro, Cerci and left-footer Stephan El Shaarawy in the same XI would leave Milan somewhat top-heavy.
Inzaghi needs to stop the rot after three straight defeats, including back-to-back losses home and away to Lazio (500/1 Scudetto outsiders) in league and cup. To bolster his defence, the loan capture of former Genoa centre back Salvatore Bocchetti from Spartak Moscow will hopefully restore some calm and composure following Philippe Mexes’ wild behaviour and sending off in their previous Serie A outing.
Whichever way you cut it, the Rossoneri are wrestling with their recent history. Even if the current crop cannot live up to the Paolo Maldini-era vintage, they are better than a mid-table Italian outfit. Inzaghi, who was an influential member during Milan’s glory days, meanwhile, will live or dive by his signings and how quickly they bed in.