Wednesday June 14 2017
Milan can dare to dream

The last couple of weeks have made Milan fans like Susy Campanale almost afraid to feel optimistic again. Is it safe to hope?

Milanisti were not always pessimistic by nature. Those old of us to remember a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy had within a few years of Silvio Berlusconi’s reign become the dominant force in world football, to this day arguably the greatest team there has ever been in the sport. We also learned from watching neighbours Inter that the influx of Chinese cash doesn’t necessarily promise success.

The mood among fans is mixed at the moment. There’s no doubt that signing star names like Andre Silva, Mateo Musacchio, Franck Kessie and Ricardo Rodriguez in the space of a fortnight is earth-shattering – and the summer has only just begun. Andrea Conti seems determined to push through the move from Atalanta, too, and Mino Raiola is fast losing contenders for Gianluigi Donnarumma with which to threaten the club hierarchy.

The elements are all there for us to dream and dream big, but there’s that nagging voice at the back of some minds: is all this just too good to be true?

With the repeated delays in the takeover, question marks over Yonghong Li’s actual financial clout and the involvement of a US hedge fund to push the deal through, one can be forgiven for feeling a little uncertain. The Financial Fair Play plan presented to UEFA had to be withdrawn and redesigned for an October deadline, adding to concerns over how all these huge transfers are being funded.

There’s more to it than that, though. As we saw with Inter, a selection of great players does not necessarily make a great team. Vincenzo Montella might not have Berlusconi breathing down his neck with unwanted tactical suggestions anymore, but he’s still a long way from a Coach with proven abilities to challenge for the top three. He hasn’t particularly worked with big egos before and the chronic lack of transfer funds last season made a measly sixth place seem like something to celebrate. How will Montella and Milan deal with the pressure of expectation that inevitably comes with an improved squad?

At least Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone are getting most of their moves in early, giving the sense that they’re following a blueprint of a team rather than just throwing a bunch of available players at the Coach – again, naming no Inters. Montella will have time to work with them from the start of pre-season, which is even more important when entering the preliminary Europa League rounds in July.

My concern is that the extent of the revamp means the side will take time to gel, and that’s something a club that spent this much money can ill-afford. How long before there’s talk of a more prestigious international manager getting ready to knock L’Aeroplanino off course?

We’ve suffered through years of austerity in which Adriano Galliani cobbled together a squad from loans, free agents, has-beens and never-weres. Perhaps all this is planned out and won’t just be coming from a ‘magic money tree’ that will disappear within a few months, plunging us into further despair. Maybe we can still believe in hope, after all. It’s an increasingly difficult message to resist, even for natural born pessimists like me.

So let’s give this new Diavolo the benefit of the doubt and see where it takes us. 

Have your say...
@ Dimitri. Man City owner is the son of the Prime Minister of the UAE who own Etihad. They use the Etihad sponsorship to fund alot of their transfers. It's revenues earned, so they're inside the FFP rules.
on the 18th June, 2017 at 2:44am
So its offical, the teenager Gigo, turned down 5M a year from about 500k a year. Granted Milan arent as good as they use to be but it still a club with immense history and fresh funds for future development The fact that he turned down that offer makes me lose all hope in fotboll. What happend to loyalty.
on the 15th June, 2017 at 4:19pm
Also, one more thing! How come we talk about the UEFA's FFP is ONLY when it comes to Italian clubs. How come we don't see that when we're talking about the rich Arab clubs, (Man-City & PSG) who were spending like crazy, when they still hadn't have huge budget and revenue, to even the books! I mean, this FFP really starts to annoy me, it looks like a conspiracy against some clubs!
on the 15th June, 2017 at 11:23am
It's only understandable to have some doubts, after 5 years of downward spiral. I'm also a natural born pessimist, but as a 25-long fan of Milan, I'm willing to give them the support, and to honestly hope the things will move towards the right direction. Yes, we need one experienced midfielder (and Montolivo out - he represents everything rotten in the last 5 years), and hopefully, we'll get him. We also need one more great striker, plus Bacca as a sub. I think Montella will do fine, he's good.
on the 15th June, 2017 at 11:18am
The membership at Milan has been amorphous and in constant flux for the last five years. It feels like you need to go back to Allegri's second or third season in charge to pinpoint the last time the squad had a clearer identity, with starting regulars that were comfortingly familiar to the fans. The recent transfers will be made all the better if they fit into a well defined and consistent lineup.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 3:35pm
However promising the initial movements on the transfer market have been, one suspects the concerns raised by Anonymous will remain a dark patch on the horizon for some time to come. The involvement of a US hedge fund and the FFP doubts of UEFA seem particularly ominous.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 3:32pm
@ Viktor

It would be interesting to read an article about the legalities of players and agents in Italian football (and elsewhere). From the outside, it is not very apparent why Donnarumma could not negotiate with Milan, or otherwise force Raiola to cooperate or be dropped as his agent. At this stage, it looks like Donnarumma is complicit in the avarice being demonstrated...
on the 14th June, 2017 at 3:30pm
I have to say im pretty shocked that Gigo still hasen comitted not replied to the existing offer from Milan. from 400k to 4m a season for a 18 years old seems pretty reasonable to me. I'm beyond annoyed at raiola for litterally forcing Donna to go elsewhere.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 1:19pm
So let me get this straight, the so-called Chinese businessman who no one knows what he actually does, who took over a year to raise funds from 50 different questionable sources to buy Milan, all of a sudden has all this money to overpay for all these players? Good luck Milan, hope you don't turn into another Malaga.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 12:29pm
I wouldn't go as far as say these are "Star name" signings, but Silva, Kessie and Conti have world-class potential and add the likes of Donna, Roman and Loca means it's an impressive squad... as David pointed out, Milan need one or two tried and true world class leaders, Iniesta, Cesc, Modric potentially... Inter (in terms of squad) is in a better position for sure, but if you consider Milan were disjointed last season and still got the points when it counted, things look very promising for them
on the 14th June, 2017 at 10:35am
it has been impressive to see milan sort out their signing so early on in the transfer window. having spent 82 million euros already 18 on rr 18 on musa 8 on kessie loan and 38 on silva out of 150 million transfer budget makes me wonder who milan is going to buy next. talk of conti pastore and even ibra is putting a foot wide smile on my face.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 9:54am
What Milan lacks is an experienced playmaker/leader on the field. Few years ago we had Pirlo, Sedorf and KAKA all in one team. In recent years that type of player was really missing from Milan. I would love to see Iniesta, that would be awesome. Young players need examples in the team to learn from them, right now Montolivo is the most experienced but he is not that good. Even Rooney could be good. Someone with experience.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 9:17am
Well,I believe for Young Han Li and Co to buy Milan they have arranged ways to raise funds,we all had doubts when the takeover saga was going on.Its over now and they have taken right steps towards revamping the squad.The difference between inter's last summer signings is that they signed players they don't actually need,but Milan is signing what the team needs and early enough for the manager to blend them on time.Lets support this newm management and be hopeful.
on the 14th June, 2017 at 9:09am

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