My piece for the Boot Room on Pellegrini’s rumoured move to AC Milan
The transfer rumour mill is in full effect this summer, and that includes news about various managers.
Manuel Pellegrini is one of a few big-name managers being mentioned this summer following his departure from Manchester City at the end of last season. In one of the more intriguing managerial rumours of the summer, the Mirror reports that the former City boss is a target for AC Milan.
The Italian club has been in transition for the last few summers, and part of that is down to a lack of managerial stability. Sinisa Mihajlovic was hired last summer in a move that was expected to end that trend but he was sacked near the end of the season. Christian Brocchi, then the youth team manager and a former Milan player, took over but has failed to convince as well. Milan hasn’t had a long-term A-list manager since the days of Carlo Ancelotti. Current Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri followed Ancelotti’s reign with for four partially successful seasons, but he did not have the reputation then that he does now.
Milan has disappointed since Allegri’s departure in 2014. Three of the four managers to take charge, Brocchi and Milan legends Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi, were first-timers. Mihajlovic was far too pragmatic for president Silvio Berlusconi’s taste. None of these men at the helm provided the requisite results or performances to last long at the San Siro. That is where Pellegrini comes in.
Berlusconi knows Milan would be getting a manager with a vast amount of European experience and a generally good track record, should Pellegrini join. The Chilean also managed at Villarreal, Malaga and Real Madrid before his stint at The Etihad. Pellegrini’s teams have always played in the fluid manner Bersculoni prefers and have been successful doing so too.
There might not be too much silverware to show for his efforts, but Pellegrini won the Premier League at the first time of asking and challenged the might of Barcelona and Real Madrid while at Villarreal. The former Malaga manager is also used to constant pressure that inevitably comes while in charge of a big club. His tenure at both Real Madrid and Manchester City made sure of that. Milan fans would certainly have cause to be optimistic upon hearing Pellegrini being linked to their historic club.
Milan has finished in eighth, tenth and seventh in the last three seasons, with a revolving door of players accompanying the managerial carousel. The Rossoneri are heading into a third straight campaign without European football with one big question still to be answered. According to ESPN FC, Berlusconi started new negotiations concerning the sale of the club to Chinese investors. That article states the sale would need to be done by 15th June for normal service,;meaning transfer activity and coaching changes etc, to occur. The sale has been delayed due to Berlusconi’s recent health issues and that further hinders the club’s chances of improving as needed on and of the pitch.
Should everything be resolved; new ownership or not, it is unlikely to be all smooth sailing with Pellegrini in charge. The Chilean manager would be facing arguably his biggest rebuilding task and likely with little help. A new ownership group would need time to make any decisions in the transfer market though that may arguably be better than Berlusconi and his right-hand man, Adriano Galliani, staying on to continue their underwhelming work of the last few seasons.
Manuel Pellegrini himself has been rather hit and miss in the market when provided with money to spend. The arrivals of Santi Cazorla, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne during his stints at Malaga, Real Madrid and Manchester City were effectively neutralized by the signings of Kaka, Raul Albiol, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala, among others. It is fair to say that at Real Madrid in particular, some of the decisions may not have been Pellegrini’s and rather worryingly, he would face a similar situation should he join Milan.
The drop-off in talent would also be a big task for a manager who is in the same category as Carlo Ancelotti at this stage of his career – more caretaker than builder. One could argue that the talent Pellegrini had at Villarreal and Malaga was better than this current Milan crop and more balanced as well. Questions about his lack of tactical adroitness defensively came up during the latter part of his City reign and will surely pop up again in Serie A. He would have a young defence to work with and a midfield that lacks the inventiveness he would prefer. The shining light would be the solid Carlos Bacca spearheading the attack.
Pellegrini certainly wouldn’t flop at Milan if given the chance, but would find the task harder than expected given all the variables. The other big question that arose at the end of his City reign surrounded his motivational abilities. The Citizens’ performances during the two Champions League semi-finals spoke of a squad no longer listening to the manager though the situation was quite unique. Milan’s hierarchy would be wise to be wary about tasking Pellegrini with galvanizing a chopped and changed squad that has failed to live up to the very shirt they represented in the last few seasons.
As rumours go, Pellegrini to AC Milan is one that gets eyebrows raising. Anyone harbouring thoughts of a quick return to glory should be cautious as Pellegrini is by no means a sure thing.
Interesting thoughts from Pellegrini. Especially when it comes to the announcement of his departure and the Pep Guardiola’s arrival. I could see him going back to Spain but we shall see.
Not sure why Frank de Boer isn’t the runaway favourite. It’ll be hard to get Koeman and even harder to get Emery. Pellegrini has Prem experience but, as mentioned, might not improve the defense as needed. I also don’t see his preferred 4-4-2 improving things much period. David Moyes is not the way to go either. Maybe there’s another candidate out of left field. Sampaoli perhaps? We shall see.
The last six months has been poor for both Pellegrini and City. One could say Pellegrini didn’t care anymore and neither did the players. It’s hard to argue that it’s because of the announcement of Pep’s arrival. The last time that happened Jupp Heynckes just went on and got the treble. Pellegrini did leave with trophies but a lot of the performances from this year and towards the end of last year means memories of him at Manchester City might not be as fond.
I still don’t get why everybody’s on Navas’ case although this author says its time to find alternatives then pretty much says he’ll end up staying. I think he’ll stay too. Here’s a World Cup, European Championship, UEFA Cup and Premier League winner who offers a skillset that can help provide some variety and balance to a team. He may not be the Navas of old, I think his confidence is shot even though he continues to get picked, but Guardiola could just be the manager to get him back to his best.
Let’s hope this game is as good as Arsenal v. Leicester. I doubt Tottenham will overwhelm City again. Pellegrini might want to consider more than a two-man midfield this time around.
Interesting thoughts here. I would agree with this separate breed of manager between the philosophers and the pragmatists.
Let’s not forget that Laurent Blanc won everything in France with Bordeaux before Paris Saint-Germain and did his best to manage the French national team for a bit. That actually makes even more confusing that his name hasn’t popped up with all the rest in the rumour mill.
Blanc, Manuel Pellegrini, Massimiliano Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti are good shouts for this type of manager. Who else could fit the bill?
Well. First off hats off to the City board for deciding not to sack Pellegrini at the end of last season as I thought they would. I still think holding out hope for Guardiola, or even Jurgen Klopp, is a bit much when you do have a very good manager in Pellegrini. I get the point about the step up in status with Guardiola but will that really be necessary if Pellegrini wins all before him? The author is probably right though, whatever Pellegrini does this season might not be enough unless something happens that puts off the Guardiola plan further. He does need to change that 4-4-2 as well.
Very true. In this win at all costs mentality it is so easy to lose perspective.
Anyone saying Manuel Pellegrini is a bad manager is being reactive. Sure, Manchester City’s second half to the season has been bad and Pellegrini has played his part in that. He’s still a good manager though and I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves Manchester City and picks up another top job. Not that there are many options available.
If he’s not immediately back on the bench then a lack of vacancies would be the reason as opposed to clubs looking at a 6-month period in his career. Unless, as mentioned, the clubs have lost perspective too. Maybe he just can’t manage a global powerhouse like Real Madrid or a team like Manchester City that intends to be one. Very few can. Will be interesting to see where he turns up next if he is sacked, or leaves.
Ha! This is hilarious. It’s not meant to be, I doubt its meant to be serious either even with the body language expert but pretty much all the comments made me chuckle. Wenger, lol.
For his sake, I hope his statement in the title of the article is true. Manuel Pellegrini is a pretty good manager but I think is his time may be up. Especially now that they are out of the Champions League.
Nice article overall though, and an interesting read.