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AC Milan appoint Paulo Fonseca as new manager

Serie A runners-up AC Milan have announced the appointment of Paulo Fonseca as their new manager on a three-year contract.

After five years in charge, Stefano Pioli left the San Siro at the end of the season after a second straight trophyless campaign.

Milan finished 19 points below new champions Inter Milan and agreed to part with the Scudetto-winning manager by mutual consent.

Despite being heavily linked with Antonio Conte and Roberto De Zerbi, the Lombardian heavyweights have identified Fonseca as Pioli’s successor.

Fonseca returns to Italian football after three years, having previously coached Roma for two years, albeit unsuccessfully.

During his tenure, the Giallorossi finished fifth and seventh, respectively, before the club fired him in 2021 and brought in Jose Mourinho to fill the vacancy.

The 54-year-old resumed his coaching career in France, yet the barren run continued.

In his first season at Lille, Fonseca had to settle for a fifth-place finish despite being praised for his attacking-minded approach and eye-pleasing football.

Les Dogues narrowly improved in 2023/24 but missed out on automatic Champions League qualification by an inch, finishing fourth, two points adrift of third-placed Brest.

Fonseca’s arrival marks the beginning of a new era in Milan.

One of his first assignments is signing a new centre-forward to replace Olivier Giroud, with Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee emerging as the likeliest candidate to fill the Frenchman’s shoes.

If negotiations with his agent Kia Joorabchian fall flat, Milan could turn to Fonseca’s former associate Jonathan David, who is ready to leave Lille after two years.

Adding another deep-lying midfielder and a quality centre-back is among other priorities as the Rossoneri bid to close the gap on Inter following an underwhelming league campaign.

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