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Ryan Ross On May - 24 - 2010

Who Next For Inter Milan?

The “Special One” looks set to leave Internazionale and Italian football for the ‘Galactico’s’ of Real Madrid and siestas of Spain. Jose Mourinho has achieved the ultimate goal for Inter Milan of winning the Champions League and now it’s time to move on; but who’s going to replace him? Here is my opinion of a few of the possible replacements for the Portuguese tactician.

Sinisa Mihajlovic is the current favourite to be sitting in the San Siro dugout next season. He’s a former Inter Milan player who not only played for the Nerazurri, but was also Assistant Manager to Roberto Mancini for 2 years before Mancio resigned after failing to lead Inter to glory in Europe. He is a favourite with the fans, who all remember his stunning freekicks.

What about his managerial abilities though? Well initially Mihajlovic struggled in Serie A; he lasted just six months at Bologna before being fired, leaving the club hovering in the relagation zone; not a great start. But then a call came from the isle of Sicily and the Serbian accepted the challenge of saving Catania from relegation. He was extremely successful at the Rossazzurri and they finished in 13th place, a fantastic achievement given that they were rock bottom of the league in December.

So what would the Serbian bring to Inter? He would take a strict discipline, a lot tougher than Mourinho was. He’s also the one person who can handle Mario Balotelli, something that Mourinho failed to do; could Balotelli become Inter’s star player? The style of play would be similar to that of Mourinho’s team and so a big transition may not be neccesary. I think Mihajlovic would be a good fit for Inter, but I am concerned about his relative lack of experience at the top level. This Inter team are coming off the back of a treble-winning season and they should be expected to defend these titles, will they be able to do it with Mihajlovic at the helm? I’m not so sure.

Rafael Benitez has been linked to the job. Would he be a good fit for Inter? I don’t believe so. Sure he has been successful before, but he appears to clash a lot with the boardroom and that wouldn’t go well with Moratti. Benitez likes his teams to develop their play from a strong defensive base, something which may work well in Italy; however, despite this he doesn’t seem to cope well with big name personalities; so Balotelli and Eto’o under Benitez? It doesn’t look likely to happen. Besides, getting him to leave Liverpool looks like a tough task; Juventus have tried and failed, I doubt Inter would fair much better. So the prospect of seeing the Spaniard in Milan is highly unlikely.

What about Guus Hiddink? A vastly experienced manager who has achieved great succes in his career. Any doubts that he can’t cut it in club management anymore were dispelled after a short spell at Chelsea last season when he turned the club’s fortunes around. He is a terrific man manager, something that is vital for this Internazionale team; could he be the man to master Super Mario?

Why would he go to Inter? Well they are the Champions of Europe, the top club to be at; well okay, Barcelona might not agree. But managing in Italy would be a fascinating prospect for Hiddink, he has never managed there and winning the league trophy would be a sweet achievement. Why won’t Inter get their man? Hiddink is now manager of Turkey; he only took the job on a couple of months ago, he wouldn’t want to leave that job. Hiddink feels he’s too old for club management, he wants to be able to reside in Holland and stay with his wife; coaching in Milan wouldn’t allow this. Finally Hiddink is a man of his word and the fact he’s committed himself to Turkey rules out any realistic possibility of getting their man.

Those are the main candidates for the job, all interesting possibilities, but I’d suggest a further two options; two Italian managers who could continue to lead the Nerazurri to glory; Delio Rossi and Massimiliano Allegri.

Delio Rossi has worked wonders with Palermo this season, finishing 5th in the league and just two points off 4th place. Rossi’s teams play with flair and this is something which Inter have missed in recent years and I’m sure their fans would appreciate greatly. People may argue that Rossi has never done it at a top club, but how is he ever going to if he doesn’t get given a chance? He’d be a breath of fresh air to the club and I’d like to see another Italian manager at the helm.

Massimiliano Alegri has enjoyed a meteoric rise in terms of football management. A two year spell at Cagliari saw him named Manager of the Season in his first term and again in his second, leading Cagliari to 12th in the table before he was bizzarely dismissed by President Massimo Cellino; apparently Allegri had been speaking to other clubs. His reign saw three players receive Italy call ups, Marchetti, Biondini and Cossu; a sign that he can get the best out of his team; a good sign for Inter? One issue which could prevent Allegri managing the blue half of Milan is that the red side have already approached him; rumours are that Allegri is going to be named Rossoneri manager this week, so Moratti would need to move fast to get him. So although Allegri is an unlikely choice, what better way to rub salt into your rivals wounds by stealing their manager?

Whatever happens to Inter Milan this summer, President Massimo Moratti has several options to choose from and we can look forward to a fresh face at the helm. Did I mention that Luis Felipe Scolari is leaving his club in Uzbekistan? Perhaps he could bring “Samba Samba” to Milan in the near future.

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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