Blog Written by Joshua O'Byrne (@JobJobBinks):
On Tuesday it was officially announced that Siniša Mihajlović was sacked as the manager of Milan, while Cristian Brocchi became Milan's fifth manager since January 2014. Club owner Silvio Berlusconi has made a bad habit out of giving inexperienced former Milan players the managerial position at Milan. It seems he has not learned from the appointments of Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi. Berlusconi doesn't seem to have a clear plan for Milan's long-term future. Reports coming through today suggest he is close to selling a majority stake of the club to Chinese investors. Appointing Brocchi could be Berlusconi granting himself one final wish at Milan. Berlusconi wanted to appoint Brocchi at the start of this season only for Galliani to persuade him to appoint a more experienced Serie A coach in Mihajlovic. Many feel that sacking Mihajlovic was harsh since both the players and fans were behind him but Berlusconi as always, gets what Berlusconi wants. So why did Berlusconi sack Mihajlovic? Can Brocchi succeed at Milan? And will Berlusconi finally develop a long-term plan for Milan's future?
Many people are left wondering why Berlusconi sacked Mihajlovic with only six games left in the league and the Coppa Italia Final to look forward to. Milan haven't picked up a win in their last five games but surely with Milan's run in, Mihajlovic would have picked up enough points to safely finish in sixth place. Berlusconi however was always waiting to give Brocchi the job and maybe was afraid that if Mihajlovic won the Coppa he wouldn't have any viable reason to sack the Serb. So when Milan lost to Juventus, Berlusconi saw it as the perfect chance to sack Miha and bring in the man he wanted at the start of the season. I also wonder that if Berlusconi really is going to sell a majority stake of Milan, why bring in Brocchi when new owners might want to bring in their own man anyway. It all seems a bit pointless to sack Miha to appoint Brocchi and then give the club over to new owners. Berlusconi was never a fan of Mihajlovic’s style of play recently stating that he had "never seen Milan play so bad." Surely an attacking style of football with the current Milan squad is just something that won't work. Mihajlovic simply played a style that suited the players. Berlusconi however it seems doesn't agree with that.
So will Brocchi succeed at Milan? He had relative success with Milan's youth team playing a Barcelona style of passing football with the Primavera. However he will need time to implement his style of play with the current Milan squad. It took him a year with the Primavera before they really started to buy into Brocchi's ideas and provide results. He won't have a year to implement his style with Milan he will need to get results straight away. Milan's next five games in Serie A are all winnable. Brocchi will be expected to at the very least finish in sixth place, which would ensure Milan's qualification to the Europa League. Brocchi then also has the chance to claim his first trophy as Milan manager. A win over Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final would certainly make Brocchi a favorite among fans and secure him a longer contract with Milan. Brocchi has been given a chance by Berlusconi and now it's up to him to provide the results.
What is Berlusconi's plan for the long-term future of Milan? It seems that over the past three years Milan have had no real long term strategy for the future. Berlusconi has stated that he wants to create an "All-Italian Milan". Donnarumma, Romangnoli, Jose Mauri, Locatelli, Calabria and De Sciglio are all young Italians with promising futures. Galliani has also boasted about the young Italian talent in Milan's youth academy for example Milan's Primavera team features only one non-Italian. However, reports coming through suggest that Berlusconi is close to selling a majority stake to Chinese investors. This would mean rather than an all-Italian team, Milan would be able to compete with the top spenders in European football. This could mean a summer clear out at Milan with some big names like Ibrahimovic possibly coming to Milan. Right now Berlusconi has to decide what route he is going to take, is he going to build his all-Italian Milan or sell Milan to Chinese investors? Milan's long-term future is still unclear.
For now Berlusconi will be hoping Brocchi can see out a sixth place finish and win the Coppa Italia. Then, the summer of 2016 looks set to be a new era at Milan.