“I Believe He Could Be The Right Coach To Really Make Leao Explode Due To The Potential He Has”

Written By Onyeka Daniel

After reportedly abandoning their plans to bring in Julen Lopetegui, Italian giants, AC Milan are expected to decide which coach will take over from Stefano Pioli in the next few weeks, torn between Sergio Conceicao and Paulo Fonseca, with Maurizio Sarri in the background.

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But there is also another name on the list, Roberto De Zerbi, even if it would be a little difficult to pull off, owing to the €15m exit clause in his contract with English Premier League side, Brighton. Carlo Nicolini, who worked with the former Sassuolo manager at Shakhtar Donetsk, explained why the Brighton coach can take Rafael Leao to the next level at Milan.


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The Portuguese winger has come under increasing criticism at the Rossoneri this season amidst the club’s struggles, with many fans believing he should be contributing more considering his potential and star status in the squad.

Despite the criticism, Leao has still carried his weight with Milan this term, scoring 13 goals and providing 13 assists in 44 matches across all competitions. Despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain, he is expected to stay for the foreseeable future. Speaking to in a recent interview, Nicolini first explained how De Zerbi could help Leao take the next step at Milan.

“I saw what De Zerbi did. So, let’s take an example with our tall wingers, I believe he could be the right coach to really make Leao explode due to the potential he has, which in my opinion he hasn’t expressed to the maximum still, to name one as an example. “Then obviously it will be the club with De Zerbi who talk about these things here, whether they need other players or not.”

He then touched on the exciting project that could’ve been built at Shakhtar. “With De Zerbi, an important project had been created at Shakhtar. Work had begun which we thought would lead us to be among the best, by that I mean the few best, in Europe. “Unfortunately, we will never have proof of this, a dream was broken. We continue to work.

“We hope that Roberto will reach the top that we thought he could reach with another team.” Finally, Nicolini suggested that De Zerbi has the right philosophy for Milan. “Certainly, the Milan squad, the Milan type of play, the Milan DNA, are very similar, from my point of view, to the philosophy that De Zerbi has.

“So, for this reason I consider him a coach who has the characteristics to coach Milan, and on whom Milan would do well to focus compared to other names who, despite being great coaches, have characteristics that aren’t typical of Milan. “Also, because it’s not certain that the strongest will do well in certain conditions, because the strongest is the strongest with certain situations and circumstances.” He further added.


Aston Villa are reportedly only a step away from signing Inter Milan and Juventus target Mario Hermoso ahead of the summer. The 28-year-old Spaniard has less than two months left on his contract with Atletico Madrid and isn’t set to sign a new deal, ready to try out a new adventure in the summer.

In recent months, he’s been heavily linked with a move to various Serie A sides including the Nerazzurri and Bianconeri. Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are on track to secure a spot in the Champions League and are gearing up for an important summer as they look to bolster the squad ahead of the new campaign, eyeing a whole host of players across Europe.

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According to recent reports from Italy, Aston Villa have been in close contact with Hermoso for a while now and are just a step away from agreeing a long-term deal with the 28-year-old, who is interested by the project and working with Emery. Inter and Juventus had been keeping an eye on the Spaniard but will now have to look elsewhere for a new full back in the summer.

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