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Written By Onyeka Daniel

Following the 2-2 draw against Salernitana, Stefano Pioli is walking on a tight rope at AC Milan and could even be replaced before the end of the year. However, the club are not keen on promoting Ignazio Abate.

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It should be recalled that former director, Paulo Maldini had wanted to replace Pioli at the end of last season, but he got booted out of the club before he could try to implement his ideas. The hypothesis of promoting Primavera manager Abate has been floated around in the media, especially since he has done a very good job.

They finished top of their UEFA Youth League group and are just four points behind Inter in the league standings. According to report, the feeling is that the club will be in better hands with Pioli than Abate.


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“There are those who say that Abate could be promoted, but the club’s stance is that there are more risks than potential gains with that option. They also risk burning out a manager who, with the right timing, could be a good manager in the future.”

There’s also the option of hiring Antonio Conte who has been free since he left his job with Tottenham Hotspur towards the end of last season, but first and foremost, Conte is said to be eyeing a return to Juventus and the Rossoneri will not be able to spend in the transfer window to satisfy the former Inter Milan manager.

Instead, the management would rather wait until summer when they try to bring in the likes of Roberto De Zerbi or Thiago Motta. Of course, if Milan were to lose against Sassuolo this Saturday then anything can happen. A lot will also depend on the opinion of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been a close friend of Abate ever since their time at Milan together.

Meanwhile…

Italian defender Matteo Gabbia is close to returning to Milan from his loan deal in January. The Rossoneri defensive crisis got worse over the previous week, as Fikayo Tomori picked up a hamstring injury and he will be out for about two months.

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Simon Kjaer and young Jan-Carlo Simic are the only two fit centre-back at Stefano Pioli’s disposal. Gabbia is currently on loan at Villarreal and he has been linked with a return to the San Siro. Recent reports has it that Gabbia’s return to the Rossoneri is as close as it has ever been in recent weeks.

Milan first approached the player’s agents and then spoke to Villarreal and it seems as if progress is being made on that front. The player has already given his willingness to return. The final few details are yet to be ironed and a definitive agreement is yet to be reached with Villarreal. But the feeling is that it is only a matter of time.

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