AC Milan are sleeping giants of world football: can they return to their glory days?
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During AC Milanís dominant period of the 1990s it would seem fanciful that they would be scrapping for a place in Europeís second-tier competition, but that is where they now find themselves, pipping city rivals Inter to the last Europa League spot on offer in Serie A last season.
And even that does not offer automatic passage as the San Siro outfit must first go through a qualifying round and then a play-off to reach the group stage.
It is all a far cry from their heyday of winning four straight Scudetto from 1992 to 1996 while they also won the Italian top-flight in 1999.
However, they have secured the title just twice since, last lifting the trophy in 2011, and there have been some tough times in recent years.
But there is now a sense that things could change under the new ownership, with Milan already flexing their muscles in the transfer market.
Torino striker Andrea Belotti has been linked and, with 80m euros said to be the fee, it is clear that Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux intend to invest.
Whether they can bridge the gap to the top teams only time will tell and, for those who like a bet on Italian football, Bookmaker Advisor can guide you in the right direction for all the best sites and offers currently on the market.
Milanís decline has mirrored that of Italian football in general, with overseas players no longer flocking to what was once seen as the best league in the world.
England, Spain and Germany have taken over in that regard although Juventus continue to fly the flag, but the long-suffering Rossoneri fans are desperate to get back to where they feel they belong.
In any sport, stability is key and that is something Milan have lacked in the latter years under Silvio Berlusconiís leadership.
Too many coaches have been hired on a whim and then swiftly despatched when found wanting and they must stick with Vincenzo Montella and give him the opportunity of moulding his own squad.
Clarence Seedorf, Filippo Inzaghi and Sinisa Mihajlovic were all sacked before being handed a real chance of turning things around under a regime that was far more interested in short-term gain than the bigger picture.
A glance at the current squad suggests that they will need to bring in some new faces this summer but there is talent for Montella to work with, as the likes of Carlos Bacca, Andrea Poli and Giacomo Bonaventura are on the books while 18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is the jewel in their crown.
The youngster already has four Italy caps to his name but is being targeted by a number of top European clubs and it will be a measure of Milanís ambition to see if they can manage to hold onto him.
Juve have dominated Italian football for the past six seasons and there is nothing to suggest that the Old Lady will not continue to challenge for honours, but it is now the likes of Roma and Napoli that are snapping at their heels with Milan down among the also-rans.
The fact they finished above Inter is one crumb of comfort but hardly likely to appease the huge fan base that crave silverware.
Milan can return to the summit but it will not be an overnight fix and the new owners must be prepared for a few more frustrating years before they can mount a sustained challenge for honours.
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