It may not end with Clarence Seedorf.
Former AC Milan and Netherlands defender Jaap Stam has already been linked to the assistant’s job at the San Siro, with the Corriere della Sera (via Football Italia) speculating that the 41-year-old could be coaxed into leaving his coaching position at Ajax for one at the seven-time European champions.
And Hernan Crespo, who spent the 2004-05 season on loan at Milan from Chelsea, would neither confirm nor deny the reports that he, too, had been approached about a position on Seedorf’s staff when asked by Italian radio, as relayed by Football Italia.
"Me to Milan? Anything is possible, but I can’t say yes and I can’t say no," he said.
Already the Rossoneri have long-time striker Filippo Inzaghi in charge of the club’s Primavera side, while former midfielder Cristian Brocchi also has a job in the youth set-up.
Even Alessandro Nesta—just retired from the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer—has thrown his hat into the coaching ring at the club he represented for a decade, telling Gazetta dello Sport (via Goal) that he would "try to become a coach" after completing the necessary courses.
What Milan are trying to do here is ambitious, if not foolish, for in repatriating so many former players they are taking a very obvious risk.
Seedorf, who only announced his retirement as a player on Tuesday, has never been a part of a coaching staff at any level, never mind in charge of one of the biggest clubs in Europe, and he arrives during a period of considerable upheaval at the San Siro.
Performances from some of the side’s most important players have been substandard all season long; results have been poor and Barbara Berlusconi—daughter of club owner Silvio Berlusconi—is taking on more of an administrative role as veteran vice-president Adriano Galliani is gradually pushed out the door.
That the Berlusconis would opt for a Rossoneri reunion upon Massimiliano Allegri’s inevitable exit became more and more apparent in recent weeks, but in passing over some rather more qualified candidates, they have also rejected a bit of well-placed advice in favor of a populous approach designed to cover existing cracks.
"Clearly [Seedorf] is gaining from the experience [of playing in Brazil]," remarked Russia manager Fabio Capello in a recent interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, as quoted by Goal. "But to immediately take responsibility of Milan is something else."
It’s something the likes of Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Cesare Prandelli or even Capello himself would have been far better positioned to do. And while Seedorf has often been lauded for his maturity and general understanding of the game, it’s nevertheless difficult to see past his appointment as anything more than window-dressing on a collapsing structure.
Yes, the reception he’ll receive upon his Milan return will be resounding, as will those of the other Milan legends suddenly catapulted into coaching roles at the club they represented as players.
But that may be the most cheering Milan supporters do this season—and for some time yet.