CM: Conte could still end up in Serie A – why the Milan idea has faded

By Ben Dixon -

When Stefano Pioli seemed destined to leave the club at the end of the season, Antonio Conte’s name was linked extensively with becoming the 58-year-old’s successor at AC Milan. However, the scene now looks much different, but Conte may still be a Serie A manager next.

This season, Pioli and Milan revolved around the same cycle for too long, with reports of his departure shortly followed by confirmation of his stay, and so on. Eventually, though, the Italian was told a decision would be made at the end of the season.

In 2024, Pioli has done superbly. The Rossoneri have progressed deep into Europe and have been excellent in Serie A, so the signs point in the direction of continuation under the current manager.

This comes with risks, though. The main one is that as a result of continuation, the Diavolo may lose their ability to replace Pioli in the future with their current targets – look at Thiago Motta, for example, who is reportedly in advanced talks with Juventus.

The other name that Milan were extensively surveying was Antonio Conte, who could join Napoli in the summer, according to reports from The Neapolitan outfit were rumoured to be interested in Pioli if he departed, but it seems they will look to Conte for stability.

Aurelio De Laurentiis sees him as the ‘dream’ appointment, and while Milan also see Conte as an apt replacement for Pioli, the club is leaning towards continuation instead of a replacement.

Tags AC Milan Antonio Conte Stefano Pioli


  1. Thiago Motta is a risk at Juventus who will completely change their playing style from a back 3 to a back 4.

    The pressure to win is also different when you are coaching a small team that is overachieving. So there’s no guarantee that Motta will be successful at a bigger club.

    Conte will require big spending on ready made players and he will also demand a big salary. If any club has the money to give him the players he wants then it is possible that with time he will be successful but if a club cannot accommodate Conte’s request it then they will be doomed to fail.

    Milan should stick with Pioli if we have a positive result in the derby and we go far in the Europa League. In 2025 Guardiola and Klopp will be available and Milan should be aiming for this level of coaches to take us to the next level because we will have a proper team built already for them to not have to change too much players for their system to work.

    1. Guardiola and Klopp? Dream on. We won’t ever be able to afford them, and if they become available, much wealthier teams will pick them up.

      Yes, we should keep Pioli. I’d say, we should keep him even if we lose again to Inter, and lose to either Roma, Leverkusen, or Liverpool.

      Why? Because these are all very good teams (Leverkusen, Inter and Liverpool are all better than we are – in the case of Liverpool, WAY better; and Roma has improved a lot and are at least level with us). It’s no shame to lose to better teams or equal-level teams. It’s not the coach’s fault to lose to better teams. A coach can – to a degree – control how we play, but a coach cannot control how other teams play. Sure, a coach can try to counter how they play, but he can’t make their very good players perform very poorly. If you double mark someone, you are opening space for someone else. If you face very elite players, there is just so much you can do, and chances are you will lose.

      Pioli can’t magically make Inter stop being in such an exquisite form this season. Pioli can’t make Lautaro stop scoring for Inter.

      We have to realize and acknowledge that yes, unfortunately, currently Roma is level with us and Leverkusen, Inter and Liverpool are better than us.

      To condition a coach’s fate to an obligation to beat better teams is stupid. We are doing well enough, considering the players we have. We are second in the league and going deep in Europe. Who is crazy enough to replace a coach that is second in the league? Should then all other 18 teams replace their coaches too???

      Do you all want us to become competitive against the likes of Inter and Liverpool? Well, then, we need to upgrade the players in some positions, rather than upgrading the coach.

      We need a proper defensive midfielder or else we’ll continue to have shaky defense and concede too many goals. We need more depth at center back and right back. We might even use some depth at left back (but the excellent Theo usually doesn’t get injured or tired; his only problem that makes him miss games is discipline; so because he is so often available, depth at left back seems less important as long as we don’t sell Theo – but yes, why not? If we can, we should also get depth at LB).

      And then, give Pioli a top-quality striker. Can you imagine how many points we’d been adding to our Serie A season, and how many points Inter would be subtracting from their season, if Lautaro played for us instead of for Inter? We need a striker of Lautaro’s level.

      Give these upgrades to Pioli and he will do extremely well; will challenge whatever team for the Scudetto, and will go deep in the Champions League.

      No need to replace the coach at all. He’s doing fine. He has more wins with Milan than Ancelotti, and he achieved it in fewer games and with a roster way less prestigious than what Ancelotti had at his disposition.

      Pioli is fine. Let’s leave him alone and stop criticizing him. Let’s give him more and better tools and he’ll do even better.

      Forza Milan.

      1. Hmmm… “Leverkusen is better than Milan”… You also mentioned “top players”, please how many top players are in Leverkusen? Just because they’re doing well this season? You don’t judge a club’s performance in Europe by there performance in their league alone. Inter is out of champions league. We fell out of CL (earlier) the season we won scudetto. The season Madrid beat Man City in CL, Man City won EPL… So what are you saying?
        Milan has been participating in CL since her resurgence, yet one season of dominance in the bundise league, Leverkusen is better than Milan. This is quite painful!

        1. I’d say we have chance to land Klopp. He is loyal, so he wouldn’t coach any other English team than Liverpool like he said, and probably any other Club other than Dortmund in Bundesliga too. So probably Serie A and Spain would be his next destination.

      2. But don’t forget that Inter do provide great deal of services to Lautaro. Inter do move so well and quick in every move much better than Pioli’s gameplay. Just not sure Lautaro did be provided with as much scoring opportunities as at where he is, therefore maybe score like 17 goals with Milan instead of 27.

        Ancellotti’s serie A was much stronger overall, so it’s normal he has a stronger team to Pioli. And there was less gap in strength between top and bottom teams. Currently Milan and inter are much more ahead of the others and expected to get better results compared to how you’d expect Ancelottis team with Juve to get results against their then opponents.

        Pioli is having a good run but the current league is easy. Milan could have been much closer to Inters obtained points. And I don’t think this Roma are “at least on Milan’s level” lol. Is that a way for you to be able to keep backing Pioli after losing to Roma ?! Don’t worry mate Milan will win.

        Pioli’s is good coach and for his management and ok style of football I prefer him to Conte and Sarri (he no longer even play good football) two guys who are always complaining about everything, problem is that you can’t count on Pioli when it really matters. Two years of inconsistency is too long.

        1. Have you noticed for how long Leverkusen has been undefeated? Like 37 games. Yes, they are currently better than us. They will be the favorites if we survive Roma and they beat West Ham.

          Yes, Inter feeds Lautaro. It’s because they have many other players who perform well. They are currently better than us. It is impossible not to notice it.

          Haven’t you noticed how much Roma has improved after the nasty Mourinho who had lost the locker room, left? Yes, they are now level with us. Of course I do hope we will win and I think we are at a peak now and can perfectly beat them, but they can also perfectly beat us; that’s what being level means. It’s a coin toss. We may win, they may win. I hope we do.

          Ancelotti had a world-class roster. Pioli is achieving a lot with a modest roster. Pioli integrated 11 new players in the team, and did it well. Of course it took a while for them to gel. On top of this, Pioli had the most injuries in all of world football. No other professional team in the entire world had as many injured players simultaneously. We ran out of CBs and had to make a LB play CB, with mixed results. We dropped many points during the injury crisis and without it, we would have qualified out of the toughest group in the UCL (the only group that sent two clubs to the quarter finals), and even with all the turmoil, we didn’t qualify by a hair. By one point. Just a bit more luck in the numerous opportunities we created against Newcastle at home, and we’d have qualified.

          Yes, Inter lost to Atletico Madrid. This, after being a finalist last season. It’s very hard to repeat this kind of performance in the UCL two seasons in a row. It doesn’t mean Inter is not a top European team. They are currently ranked 4th or 5th in the European ranking, I don’t recall which one. But they are top 5.

          Yes, it is VERY hard to do well simultaneously domestically and in the UCL. You need a huge depth for that. The season when we did very poorly domestically, with Pioli, we got to the UCL semis, and that season we had minimal depth. That is quite an achievement for our current team; remember the banter years?

          Yes, I also prefer Pioli, a guy liked by the players, to toxic Conte.

      3. And you need to fire the other 18 coaches behind Inter. Most of those are still within their initial season objectives, Pioli is not. That’s how you judge coaches.

        1. Season objectives: Pioli got a team from the banter years and got us back into the UCL. First season back we had the youngest team in the whole UCL and didn’t qualify because likely Atletico Madrid bought that horrible ref with crypto currency given how he called for a completely non-existing PK for them to beat us.

          Then Pioli won a Scudetto. Then he got us to the semis of the UCL. Then despite a devastating injury crisis and the need to integrate 11 new players, he got us to second in the league with 1 point more than what we had in the Scudetto season at this point (it’s not Pioli’s fault that Inter has been so good; but actually we are doing even better than in the Scudetto season despite the dropped points from devastating injuries and the need to gel new players. We are firmly in second place and 13 points ahead of the 5th, so pretty much guaranteed to continue to make the UCL.

          So what exactly are the season objectives you think Pioli is failing? Just because Inter has been so good? We can’t control that. And because we didn’t qualify out of the toughest UCL group by a hair despite all the new players and the inuries?

          Pioli is achieving perfectly well the possible objectives; I mean, the ones we can achieve with the players we have and the situations he inherited, and the roster he was given.


          PS – I mixed up your opinion with Ceejay’s; the response for you was actually a response for both.

      4. Stop overating Leverkusen or Liverpool because they are on the same par with Milan if there’s no injury no team is unbeatable.

        1. You are talking about the top teams in two of the main leagues, EPL and Bundesliga. Liverpool is a world class team, one of the top five in the world or even top 3. Leverkusen is undefeated forever. We are not on the same par with them. But yes, it is not impossible to beat them, of course, and I hope it happens, but come on, it’s unlikely.

          1. Ac Milan is unbeaten in 8 matches,
            Bayern Munich is without a win in their last 3 matches.

            Bayern is not at per with us, Ac Milan is currently better than Bayern.

  2. Until Pioli demonstrates he can consistently beat bigger teams and not get tactically out coached he should not stay IMO. He’s done a great job but it’s time to evolve. Our record against bigger clubs is poor. We will see what happens these next few weeks with a revitalized Roma; Inter and a weakened Juve on the slate. He must win those games otherwise it’s the same old story – and change is needed. We should look forward to an innovative and creative coach (like Motta – unless reports are true that Juve has already signed him) that can take us to the next level.

  3. Pioli has done enough. If we want to bring in better players then bring in a next level coach (not Conte, Juve can have him).

    1. Yeah, that would be great. However we are not rich like teams that count on Arab money. Of course if we could afford the best players and the best coach, that would be wonderful. But the way Pioli is doing, it makes sense to at least allow him to finish his contract (there is still one year left). Then we can try to upgrade the coach.

      If he’s fired now, we will have to pay his salary AND the new coach’s, plus agent fees etc.

      And frankly, who could we get now that would be an upgrade? Motta seems to be gone to Juve (and he has had one good season with Bologna; it’s a gamble). Conte? No, please no. Who else?

  4. I find the approach insane.

    They don’t believe in Pioli which is why the started looking elsewhere amid an injury crisis. Even then his tenure is now a fortnightly proposition. What happens if Roma, a side which is a similar level of quality, knock us out of Europa. What if Inter roger Milan again?

    He’ll be gone and so will the 2 coaches we identified as the guys we believed in.

    You could be cynical and say that the sudden faith in Pioli is nothing more than a realisation that Motta and Conte are gone.

    Motta is the one that really hurts. Perfect evolution of the project stylistically, for the patterns of play through the middle and up front. But the useful idiot blew that up because he wants to win so he wants to bring in a winner because that’s how you win.

    Fans should not fall for what Red Bird has delivered. There is no football plan except to engage in more transferring.

    Even the possibility that we are now looking at Scalvini is not entirely satisfying. It is clear to me that resale value is at the forefront of most of the transfer thinking. Scalvini is one of the few Italians who will retain a massive resale value whereas Buongiorno, for example, may be a Serie A / Europe specific defender who English clubs never seriously look at.

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