In a matter of a few weeks, Milan go from having their owner Li Yonghong default on his €32m loan obligation and suspended from European competition to looking somewhat of a rejuvenated Rossoneri under Elliot Management.
Since the hedge fund seized control of the club, it seems that regardless of whether or not they have plans to run the Rossoneri long term, there is some legitimacy and transparency attached to their name and financial standing. Elliott recognise the position Milan hold in football, and ensured in their press release this past weekend after the CAS ruling granting Milan participation in the upcoming Europa League campaign, that they have the stability and strategies to bring the seven-time Champions League winners back to prominence.
Following the announcement of a new board headed by executive chairman Paolo Scaroni, and the dismissal of Marco Fassone from his CEO title, it is obvious Elliott’s aim is to tie up the loose ends and repair the damage the club has taken by shaking up the brain trust. This includes appointing former Milan player and Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo, while also strongly tied to both Umberto Gandini and Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, who conjure up renewed optimism amongst supporters that the club will be guided properly from all aspects.
As if cleaning house in the front office and at the top wasn’t already encouraging Milan fans to believe that there is perhaps light at the end of the tunnel after all, the activity on the market looks somewhat promising compared to what we expected just weeks prior – if the rumours swirling about the Italian media are true.
Leonardo is said to be already working behind the scenes to acquire premium players like Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who both Milan’s incoming director and Beppe Maortta reportedly engaged in initially conversations over, and free agent Milan Badelj.
Leonardo will be given some freedom to operate on the market for the remainder of this window - by both buying and selling to stay within their operating and budget FFP parameters - and the expectations are that these next weeks will be decisive, both on the pitch and off.
Over the last several weeks, the vibe has changed for Milan supporters. Confusion, uncertainty and a feeling of ambivalence amongst the passionate fanbase has been quelled by a defined objective laid out by Paul Singer and Elliott that has injected some optimism that maybe this ship treading water can be steadied after a bit of turbulence.
With time left in the summer to round out the technical staff and piece together the roster with a few more key additions for manager Gennaro Gattuso to compete, Milan look to be well positioned, and at the very least, in a much better situation than many expected at this point in time.