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AC Milan are now working to appoint a new coach after deciding to part ways with the current manager Stefano Pioli, who will leave the club after arriving in October 2019 to replace Marco Giampaolo. With the Italian giants, Pioli won a Serie A title in 2021-22 but after a disappointing season, he will leave the Rossoneri. The club is now looking at the options available on the market, and rumors suggest they would prefer an international profile who could improve young players and also work closely with the board. American owner Gerry Cardinale will have the final say on the matter while both CEO Giorgio Furlani and RedBird advisor Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be part of the decision-making process, which should be done in the next weeks. 

The current list of candidates doesn't include possible surprises that are not considered at the moment, such as former Bayern Munich man Hansi Flick, who is now looking for a new job, or Ruben Amorim, who looks unlikely to join Liverpool as reports suggested in recent weeks. Current Bologna manager Thiago Motta could be off to Juventus in the summer while other possible candidates such as Xavi or Sergio Conceicao decided to stay at Barcelona and Porto respectively. Let's now take a look at the current leading candidates: 

Paulo Fonseca

The current Lille manager is a strong candidate as he already worked in Italy when he was at AS Roma and his tactical system, the 4-2-3-1, could fit well with the current team. Fonseca's contract at Lille will expire this season and doesn't look likely to stay at his current club, and he can become a good option for the Rossoneri. His international experience and also his Serie A knowledge can become key factors. 

Mark Van Bommel

The former AC Milan midfielder already knows what it means to wear the Rossoneri jersey and his link with Ibrahimovic might become crucial for his candidacy. The current Royal Antwerp manager is one of the candidates that the Italian club is exploring in this initial phase, and he has to be considered in the list of potential names to become the Pioli successor at AC Milan to his success as a manager so far, having won three trophies so far.

Antonio Conte

The name most of the fans want. The former Inter and Juventus coach can become one of the few to manage all the big three Italian clubs and he's highly rated especially by Ibrahimovic himself. He's also eager to be back in the Italian Serie A in the near future. However, the club is looking for a manager who could work closely with the ownership and can also improve young talents while Conte is considered more for a short-term project and for this reason not the ideal profile. Until the decision is done, his name has to be on this list. 

Maurizio Sarri 

Another Italian manager, this one with a different background. After his spell at Lazio ended last March, Sarri is now free to join a new club in the summer and in the past AC Milan already tried to appoint him. Sarri can be a perfect match for AC Milan for the way he improves the players and his tactical ideas can fit well with the current roster. However, like Conte, his way of working with clubs in the past might be an issue as he's had difficult relationships with club directors. 

Julen Lopetegui 

Lopetegui was the first name that the club contacted a few weeks ago, but his candidacy cooled down in the past hours as other names emerged. His international background and the fact he already coached in multiple countries and leagues were among the reasons for his chances to become the next AC Milan manager. 

Roberto De Zerbi 

The current Brighton coach made very clear his intention to continue in the Premier League unless a big Italian club calls him back to his country. On top of that, De Zerbi played in the AC Milan academy and other clubs that were considering him for the job, such as Liverpool and Bayern Munich, have decided to go for a different coach for the next season. De Zerbi can become a good candidate for AC Milan, but as things stand, it's not the most likely option.