Monday October 15 2018
Mirabelli: ‘Confused by Li’

Former Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli admits Yonghong Li’s ownership “left us all surprised”.

The mysterious Chinese businessman took control of the Rossoneri in April 2017, and appointed Mirabelli as his sporting director.

The Italian was sacked when Elliott Management forced out Li, and it appears he was as confused as anyone by his time at San Siro.

“That’s everyone’s thought,” Mirabelli responded when asked about Li by 7Gold.

“It’s strange that he bought and sold Milan in such a short time. There are many things to think about but it left us all surprised.

“I didn’t have a crystal ball, and being involved with Milan for even one day was an honour. Those were 15 months of great commitment.

“Living in Milan’s world day-by-day doesn’t happen to many people, it’s beautiful. I’m proud to have been part of this history of this great club even if only for a short time.

"I don't want to be misleading, I know less than the journalists. The ownership was over and above what I was doing at Milan.

"Before spending money at Milan we needed the right guarantees, and we had a CEO [Marco Fassone] who had a relationship with the owners.

"We had an onwership which wasn't communicative, they had a non-European idea that was very differnet to an Italian one.

"As far as we were concerned, whenever they had to make the wire transfers they did it. Apart from the final €30m they never missed anything."

Mirabelli conducted an expensive transfer campaign in the summer of 2017, but the likes of André Silva and Nikola Kalinic left just 12 months later.

“André Silva is a player of undoubted quality, in my opinion. We made that choice knowing full well that it wasn’t easy for a young Portuguese player to play in the Italian league.

“I hope he’ll return to Milan.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? There might be a small amount of regret, when I think about Aubameyang.

“But in those months we had to revolutionise the team, and we spent €160m on the squad with sales and purchases. We needed to create a young, solid core in the squad.

“Up-front we were missing something that would have allowed us to do something impossible. But you don’t build a squad in a single window, it’s about a longer path.”

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