Throughout the course of this ownership dilemma, Milan’s brand has taken quite a hit. The value of the Rossoneri image still remains tremendously high around the world, but the struggles during the past five to six years on the pitch, along with uncertainty at the top, calls for financial stability and total transparency under Elliott Management.
It’s natural to fear what comes next, as hedge funds are generally speaking not adept at running massive football clubs. The good news is that they want their money back, which means building Milan back up until it can be sold at a large profit.
Elliott’s aim is to assemble a strong team of directors, including a CEO, general manager and sporting director. According to reports throughout this week, club legend Paolo Maldini, who has consistently rejected roles within management due to concerns over the project, reportedly had dialogue with the current group to hold a position similar to Javier Zanetti’s at Inter. However, it seems the 50-year old legend will turn it down as he covets a more hands-on, involved role that would grant him freedom to operate.
Now, the primary target for Paul Singer’s management firm is believed to be Leonardo, who would step in to the same sporting director role he previously held at Paris Saint-Germain, putting Massimiliano Mirabelli on the chopping block after taking on serious criticism for his transfer policy since arriving last summer.
It is safe to say that Milan supporters have been left in the dark with regards to the future of their club and who will be making the major decisions necessary to alter the current course the seven-time Champions League winners are on.
At this point, the most important measure for Elliott to take is ensuring Milan are financially healthy and cared for to the point where the asset itself is protected from further turbulence. After spending north of €200m just 12 months ago, expecting Elliott to splash out this time around is irrational, meaning the transfer strategy will be minimally funded with a small operating budget and proceeds from outgoing transfers.
They have already signed free agents Pepe Reina, Ivan Strinic and Alen Halilovic, bringing back memories of when Adriano Galliani put together an entire line-up from loans, youth products and freebies.
Having said all this, supporters would likely sacrifice a summer of serious investment, and perhaps even a top asset in the squad, if it means a clear path is laid out towards a restored and secured Milan built to compete consistently.
With Yonghong Li no longer in charge after defaulting on his loan, Elliott now looks to pick up the pieces, inject the necessary funds to stabilize the club’s finances and reshuffle the front office staff in order to bring legitimacy top to bottom. Whether they remain in control or attempt to repackage the Italian giants in a way that would rebuild their value to new investors remains up in the air.