Much like the drawn-out speculation ahead of his appointment as Milan coach back in January, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Clarence Seedorf to ignore the rumours over his possible replacements. While the gossip columns have been dominated by the situation for weeks, a trio of candidates continue to be more heavily linked than others.
The Dutchman is publicly becoming slightly disillusioned with the situation amid the ongoing questioning over his future beyond this summer. As Seedorf has had to address comments by both Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani, is it a case of when, rather if, he will get sacked?
- Paul: Banana incident tarnishes Atalanta match - Video: Berlusconi vague on Seedorf's future From Galliani having to clarify himself with regards to allegedly calling Seedorf “crazy” during Milan's 2-1 defeat to Atalanta on Sunday, to Berlusconi telling UnoMattina that he would discuss the Milan coach for next season the next time he was on the show, it is generally assumed that the end is approaching.
It is understood that former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti is emerging as the favourite to replace Seedorf, although recent speculation suggests that wage demands could yet see the move break down. There are also issues regarding his contractual dispute with his former club Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Nevertheless, La Gazzetta dello Sport appear confident that negotiations will continue, and that Spalletti will hold talks with Galliani over the possibility of returning to Italy this summer and being tasked with overseeing the rebuilding process at the club in the next few years. While Seedorf’s impact since arriving should be appreciated from the perspective of the number of points he has accumulated -- 32 points from 20 games -- it is clear that the Rossoneri hierarchy want more in terms of the manner in which they are obtained.
Seedorf has arguably failed in that respect as Milan have failed to consistently play at a high level during his tenure, but whether or not that is due to the playing squad at his disposal rather than the coach himself continues to be an area for debate.
Nevertheless, with Spalletti’s experience and reputation of playing good football, it appears as though another change of management could be in the offing ahead of next season. However, his name is not the only one linked with the managerial post.
While certain reports can be dismissed, such as those linking Antonio Conte with the role, both Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella and former Milan star Roberto Donadoni join Spalletti in a trio of realistic targets to take over from Seedorf.
Donadoni refused to rule out a Parma exit this summer after their draw with Torino on Sunday, instead insisting that he had no reflections to make on his future and that he would evaluate the situation with the President and directors at the end of the season.
If Milan do plan to make a change in the coming months, the next appointment is absolutely crucial. From both a financial point of view and in terms of results on the pitch, they can ill afford to get the wrong man again.
Spalletti seemingly appears to be the favourite for now -- provided personal terms can be agreed upon -- but if he isn't appointed, it still looks as though it is merely a matter of time before Seedorf is put out of his misery.
If Seedorf is replaced, who would be the ideal next coach for Milan?