As Julen Lopetegui links intensify, AC Milan and Stefano Pioli split is best for all parties

AC Milan look set to move on from coach Stefano Pioli this summer, with Julen Lopetegui amongst the favourites to replace him, and it may be best for both club and tactician.

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After almost five years at the helm, the Stefano Pioli era at AC Milan appears set to be drawing to an end and a reset may be exactly what the Rossoneri need.

Having gone into the campaign full of optimism, Milan‘s season has tailed off to one of disappointment after elimination from the Champions League at the group stage, being dumped out of the Europa League by AS Roma, and being knocked out of the Coppa Italia.

Most painful of all was seeing bitter rivals Inter secure the Serie A title with a win in the Derby della Madonnina, and Milan sit a distant 19 points behind their cousins after Matchday 34 of Serie A.

Pioli struggling to recapture heights of his tenure

Pioli replaced Marco Giampaolo as Milan coach in October 2019 after a dismal start to that season and has brought the good times back to the Diavolo after a barren decade, initially by bringing the club back to the Champions League.

The peak of his reign was pipping Inter to the scudetto in 2022, made particularly sweet by his previous association with the Nerazzurri.

However, a poor defence of the title last season has been followed up by an equally underwhelming challenge for the crown this term and a failure to make an impact on the continent means a parting of the ways between club and coach seems natural.

Stefano Pioli. (Photo: AC Milan)

Lopetegui the unpopular choice

Pioli‘s impact at the Stadio San Siro has been wavering for some time and Milan are ready to look beyond the 58-year-old, with former Sevilla and Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Julen Lopetegui amongst the favourites to replace him.

Lopetegui has been out of work since falling out with the hierarchy at Wolves last summer, and whilst the links with him have not gone down well with a section of Milan‘s supporters, it is growing increasingly clear that Pioli‘s future lies away from the Diavolo.

Should the ex-Porto man be named as Pioli‘s successor, he certainly has plenty of work to do to reinvigorate a squad that has become stale, particularly in attack, but a fresh start on all fronts may be just what Milan need.

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