The new Serie A season is just six games old and there is already talk of AC Milan axing under-fire coach Marco Giampaolo. The former Sampdoria coach only took charge in the summer following the departure of Gennaro Gattuso, who paid the ultimate price for failing to guide the Rossoneri into the Champions League places at the end of last season.
Giampaolo was seen as the ideal candidate for the job, the man to get Milan back into the top four, but the season could not have started much worse.
Milan have lost the last three games in Serie A, the latest of which came against Fiorentina at the San Siro on Sunday. Not only did they lose 3-1 on home soil, but the manner of the performance has set alarm bells ringing throughout the club.
They now sit 16th in the Serie A table, one point above the relegation places and six away from the top four. It is of course very early days still, but there will have to be a quick upturn in results if Giampaolo is to keep his job.
Speculation is already rife over who could step in to replace him, should Milan decide to make a change.
Here are the three main contenders:
1 – Massimiliano Allegri. The last manager to win the Scudetto for Milan, and is said to be the ‘dream’ appointment for the powers that be at the San Siro.
Allegri remains out of work following his departure from Juventus at the end of last season and would be able to step straight in if Milan could convince him to make a speedy return. They would have to move quickly though. There could soon be some exciting opportunities for Allegri at Real Madrid or Tottenham and the Italian would be in demand.
He has won seven Serie A titles with Juventus and would also be the number one choice with the fans.
2 – Claudio Ranieri. The much-travelled Ranieri is also out of work having left AS Roma at the end of the season. He returned to the Giallorossi for a second spell but the decision was taken not to extend his contract after they just missed out on the Champions League places.
Ranieri has reacted to rumours linking him with Milan by insisting he is not interested and has wished Giampaolo well in trying to change their fortunes around. However he could change his tune if the job does become available.
3 – Rudi Garcia. The former AS Roma coach is another who is out of work having left his position as coach of French side Marseille back in May of this year.
He would jump at the chance to return to Italy with Milan but Garcia is not an appointment that would excite the fans.