Is Milan slipping out of fashion?

In Milan, image is everything. A homeland for fashionistas, it pays to look good in Italy’s second city.

Unfortunately for their fierce footballing neighbours, their respective outfits are more high street than high-end boutique.

It has not always been this way. As recently as 2010, Jose Mourinho – the bold, brash, Armani coat-wearing Portuguese – was calling the tune and guiding Inter to an historic Treble.

AC were also a force to be reckoned with at that time, with an 18th Serie A title captured a year after they were forced to watch their San Siro home decked out in blue and black.

Since then, the tale of Milan’s fallen giants has left them more black and blue.

The bruises are still noticeable, with the Nerazzurri and Rossoneri forced to watch on helplessly as the Old Lady from Turin has stolen their crown and set off over the horizon.

Juventus have re-established themselves as Italy’s sporting superpower, and there is no chance of those in Milan knocking them from that perch any time soon.

Inter slipped to fifth in 2013/14, with AC even further off the pace in eighth.

It comes as no surprise to find that a serious step in the wrong direction has brought managerial changes, with both clubs turning to familiar faces in an effort to stop the rot.

Clarence Seedorf, in his first coaching post, flopped badly with AC and his former team-mate Filippo Inzaghi is faring little better this term, as his underachieving side sit 11th.

Inter are also struggling, with their points tally and goal difference on a par with their fiercest of rivals.

Mediocrity has never been part of the plan in this corner of the world.

Roberto Mancini has been returned to the Inter hot-seat in the hope that he can rekindle the magic which saw him toast three title successes prior to handing the baton to Mr Mourinho.

He has a lot of rebuilding to do, but he can at least call upon the support of a wealthy backer in the form of Indonesian club president Erick Thohir.

The same could be said for AC, but the eccentricities of Silvio Berlusconi are probably now more of a curse than a blessing.

Gone are the days when big money would be spent by those in the famous black and red stripes, with their existence more about retention and home-grown production than elaborate spending.

Inter, on the other hand, have the cash and have shown during the 2015 winter window that they retain their appeal in the global transfer market, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Marcelo Brozovic secured amid fierce competition from the Premier League and the riches on offer in England.

Is this a sign of things to come, or a flash in the plan? And what next for AC?

Inter can at least offer new recruits some continental football in the Europa League – those across the way have no such bargaining tools.

Were they both to miss out on Europe this season, serious questions would be asked.

Milan is not a place for second best, never mind 10th or 11th. Mancini and Inzaghi may fit the mould from a style point of view, but the pair will be painfully aware of the unforgiving nature of a city that sees trends change with the season.