Vincenzo Montella era begins as AC Milan make smart appointment

ESPN FC’s Paolo Bandini discusses the hiring of Vincenzo Montella as AC Milan manager.

Since AC Milan sacked Massimiliano Allegri in January 2014, the Rossoneri have rattled their way through four different tacticians. From Clarence Seedorf to Cristian Brocchi, the continued strategy of rolling the dice and taking a gamble backfired. The result was two years of instability and a distinct lack of success.

There was a sense of progress under Sinisa Mihajlovic last season, but the fiery 47-year-old was relieved of his duties in mid-April and Milan were forced to start from scratch again. In came Brocchi, who had a notable impact at youth level, and the former Milan midfielder was seen as the ideal candidate by club President Silvio Berlusconi to lead the club forward in the latter stages of last season.

That gamble failed too, with the Rossoneri missing out on European football yet again following a seventh-place finish in Serie A, coupled with their defeat in the Coppa Italia final.

The suggestion that Brocchi could continue in the job in 2016-17 was unappealing for supporters due to his tactical failures at the end of the season. But now that is no longer a worry, as the official announcement arrived on Tuesday night that Vincenzo Montella was the new Milan coach.

“Vincenzo Montella is our new coach,” announced the club. “Vincenzo has signed a two year contract on July 1.”

“It is the belief of the club that the style of play of the new Rossoneri coach will be the basis of a fruitful and positive collaboration.”

The 42-year-old has an impressive track record as both a player and coach, dating back to his Serie A title-winning season with Roma in 2000 and his early work with them on the sidelines in 2011, up to his latest role with Sampdoria.

In between those two tenures was a successful stint at Catania, but it was his work at Fiorentina that is undoubtedly the most reassuring and promising part of his arrival and gives hope that Milan have finally made a wise move by appointing him.

Aside from the fact that he guided the Viola to three consecutive fourth-place finishes, Montella successfully implemented and developed an attractive style of football that led to praise from all around Europe.

Furthermore, this wasn’t the first time that the former striker was linked with the Milan position. It was suggested that he was a target for the club before they eventually opted for Mihajlovic last summer, but perhaps this is a case of better late than never.

Vicenzo Montella Vincenzo Montella led Sampdoria to a 15th place finish in Serie A in 2015-16.

On the face of it, Montella’s appointment is a smart move from Milan. The Italian tactician has experience of coaching in Italy, has delivered results, prefers an expansive style of play which will be welcomed at the San Siro and is a young, forward-thinking tactician that is ready to prove his worth with a big club.

That’s a number of important boxes ticked, but the important aspect of this decision is that it is followed up by new ownership who invest in the squad and give Montella the freedom and flexibility to bring in his own players.

In Florence, he impressed with his eye for talent and ability to sign players that fitted into his system and carried out his ideas perfectly. He’ll have to replicate that winning formula in Milan, and armed with significant transfer funds under Milan’s expected new Chinese ownership group, he’ll relish the prospect of adding quality to the side.

Football is essentially a results-based business, but the manner in which those results are attained are equally as important for some. Berlusconi is among that group and he has long craved to see entertaining football from his Milan team, and he may well finally get his wish next season.

It will now be intriguing to see who Montella targets and brings in, as although it marks an exciting new start for Milan, it comes with the usual concerns.

Can he handle the pressure and end the negative cycle and atmosphere at the club? Many have tried and failed before him; can he be the man to change Milan’s path moving forward? Time will tell, but hopes are high.

With pre-season edging closer, it was important that Milan started to put the pieces in place for next season. It remains to be seen how long it takes before an official agreement is in place over the takeover, but appointing Montella now is a welcome boost and a great building block to finally start the summer planning.

Sumeet Paul has written for various websites providing Serie A coverage. He can be found on Twitter @SP_Calcio for all things Italian football.

The original version of this story which was published by ESPN can be viewed here.

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