Jeremy Menez has been one of the stars of the season in Serie A and his performances could determine whether Filippo Inzaghi remains at AC Milan beyond the end of the campaign.
The Frenchman, who moved to the club on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain back in the summer, scored twice against Cagliari to ease the pressure on their beleaguered manager. And with the 27-year-old tussling for the Golden Boot with Carlos Tevez of Juventus and Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan, his hunger for personal accolades could be a factor that spares Inzaghi from the axe.
Menez was forced out of Paris, with Laurent Blanc’s men eager to bring Angel Di Maria to the club from Real Madrid, only to lose out to Manchester United, who made him the front of their rebuilding campaign with a £60 million bid. The French international was inundated with offers, even admitting to interest from United themselves during the days when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost, but opted for Milan, who were keen to splash the cash with another new manager at the helm.
Previous negotiations between the two helped sweeten the deal, with the Serie A side allowing Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave for Ligue 1 back in 2012 and the current champions permitting Alex to move to the San Siro back in the summer.
With Massimiliano Allegri and Clarence Seedorf both being axed after a disappointing campaign that saw the Rossoneri finish eighth in the table last term, Inzaghi was charged with the mission to mount a title challenge and secure a swift return to the Champions League.
Menez has been the most successful of his summer signings, with goals hard to come by as the club have failed to sufficiently replace troubled Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli. Fernando Torres and Mattia Destro have both disappointed, with the former currently on loan back at boyhood club Atletico Madrid.
A promising start to the season has given way to a torrid run of form that has their former goal machine on the brink of becoming the third manager sacked in less than two years. Despite delivering glory galore during his playing days, the Italian should expect little sentiment given the unforgiving way his predecessors were relieved of their duties.
Europa League participation would be a success and would ensure them a shot at winning another trophy next season. Inzaghi needs Menez to produce the magic to get his stint at the club truly up and running.