AC Milan's 4-2 defeat at home to Parma this past weekend was accompanied by supporters protesting outside the San Siro over poor performances and even poorer transfers, and has been portrayed as the club's nadir. Monday's Corriere dello Sport led with the headline ‘Seedorf is already finished,' claiming Filippo Inzaghi is waiting in the wings to either take over immediately or in the summer. But, as is abundantly clear, Milan's problem is much more difficult to solve than by switching the man in the dugout.
Firing Seedorf and replacing him with Inzaghi would amount to firing a recently-retired club legend with no prior experience of coaching at the top level and replacing him with a recently-retired club legend with no prior experience of coaching at the top level. Granted, Inzaghi has had two years of prior coaching experience at youth level for AC Milan, winning the prestigious Viareggio Cup tournament last month, but that's far from a guarantee of success when it comes to the professional level.
If Inzaghi had been appointed instead of Seedorf a few months ago -- and, given how highly they clearly rate him, it's baffling that he wasn't -- Milan likely would have still found themselves in their current predicament. Inzaghi may prove to be a a vastly superior coach to Seedorf, but we're taking as big a leap of faith in making that assumption as we are in writing Seedorf off after a handful of matches. In the aftermath of Milan's defeat to Udinese in January, Seedorf told RAI "I can't perform miracles." And, as divine the Curva Sud consider him to be, it's safe to say Inzaghi can't either.
Perhaps it would have been better to send Inzaghi off to Emilia when Serie A relegation strugglers Sassuolo made an approach for him back in January, rather than send them back empty handed and leave him as a constant shadow lurking behind Seedorf. At least then Inzaghi would have been able to pick up some Serie A experience and preliminary assessments of his coaching prowess could have been made -- and always with the option of bringing him back if Seedorf didn't work out.
There's no doubt that Milan are still inadequately stocked squad-wise to play the kind of football Seedorf wants to play (or, for that matter, any kind of expansive, modern football). He has attempted to fit square pegs in round holes, but that's less to do with any obvious ineptitude, and more because there are no round pegs to spare. Kaká, Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda have all been pushed out wide in an attacking midfield band -- with Taarabt coping admirably, in particular -- but it's clear that they're all better through the middle. Stephan El Shaarawy's eventual return from injury will help, but it's naïve to expect him to be able to change things single-handedly.
Club president Silvio Berlusconi was correct when delivering a verbal nudge to director Adriano Galliani earlier in the week, with Gazzetta quoting him as saying "Milan is a squad constructed badly." Aside from a glaring dearth of quality in the Milan team, the bizarre stockpiling of attacking midfielders with the defence and midfield so weak, as well as the tactically-undermining absence of wide attackers, is baffling. Hopefully Milan will go some way to rectifying it in the summer.
If, after some reshuffling, Seedorf's Milan is still struggling, then there's more of a justification for canning him. But until then, it's just the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.