Serie A giants, AC Milan have reportedly reached an agreement with German tactician Ralf Rangnick, who will take over the duties as head coach in August.
Currently, the 62-year-old is working with Red Bull in the capacity of head of sports development, but as per reliable football journalist Fabrizio Romano, ‘The Professor’ as he’s fondly called, will soon be heading to the Italian capital.
The report also adds that Rangnick will also take charge as Milan’s sporting director, a seat that is currently held by Rossoneri legend Paolo Maldini.
The club will allow current manager Stefano Pioli to remain at the helm, until the end of the season. Since taking over at the San Siro in October last year, Pioli has overseen an upturn in fortunes. Milan are currently fifth in the Serie A standings, but they would drop down to seventh if Roma and Napoli win their game in hand.
AC Milan are a staggering 26 points adrift of league leaders, Juventus, whom they surprisingly beat 4-2 on Tuesday night, and 14 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who occupy the final Champions League qualification berth.
The Rossoneri, who are the second most successful club in Champions League history, haven’t played in Europe’s premier club competition for five years now. And to put an end to that unwanted run, they have turned to Ralf Rangnick.
A brief history of Ralf Rangnick
The 62-year-old has previously coached various Bundesliga teams such as VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, Schalke 04, 1989 Hoffenheim and most recently, RB Leipzig. A former player himself, Ralf Rangnick is currently working with Redbull, and his job is to unearth young and talented players.
Before agreeing on a contract with AC Milan, the German coach was also linked with several high-profile jobs across all of Europe, including the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Everton.
The Rossoneri have managed to beat their competitors to his signature, and it is being reported that Ralf Rangnick will sign a three-year contract initially.
What can AC Milan fans expect from Ralf Rangnick?
Having managed various football clubs in his professional career, Ralf Rangnick is a highly experienced coach, and because he’s served some teams in non-coaching roles as well, the veteran manager will come equipped with the know-how to return AC Milan to their former glory.
As a coach, he won helped Hannover earn promotion to the Bundesliga in 2001-02, and his most renowned coup came with Schalke in 2010-11, when they won the DFB-Pokal.
While Rangnick may not be a ‘big-name’ manager, he will be better equipped than Milan’s former appointments, namely Gennaro Gattuso, and Clarence Seedorf, who were legendary players in their prime, but failed to impress from within the dugout.
At least, their latest recruit has some prior experience at top-level management, even though some may argue that the Milan job will be Ralf Rangnick’s most high-profile appointment ever.
How can Rangnick improve AC Milan?
It’s clear that the Rossoneri needed a change in scenario, as they’ve been trying to usher in a new era since American hedge fund Elliot Management took over from former owners Rossoneri Sport Invest Lux.
The fact that Milan have turned to an ageing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to carry the burden of scoring goals, speaks volumes about their downfall in recent years.
The rise of talented players like Suso, Gianluigi Donnarumma has stalled, while their recent signings have failed to click – look no further than Krzysztof Piatek, who was banging goals for fun at Genoa but has struggled to adapt to the burden of Milan’s number 9 shirt.
With the appointment of Ralf Rangnick, fans can expect a better recruitment policy, which would be driven by data-based analysis and with a long-term vision, rather than short-term fixes.
AC Milan have struggled, but they are on the road to improvement. After beginning the season well, they’ve faded away and are fighting to qualify for Europa League next season.
Once a European elite, they’re a sleeping giant now, and nothing would hurt Rossoneri fans more than seeing arch-rivals Inter Milan back in the Champions League next term, a competition which was so easily their own stomping ground once upon a time.
Is Ralf Rangnick the man destined to lead Milan back to their glory days? Only time will tell, but his appointment is certainly a step in the right direction.