Milan parted company with Leonardo and Gennaro Gattuso, warning they must “ensure financial stability” amid reports of Arsenal’s bid for Gianluigi Donnarumma.
It was a seismic day at Milanello, where both director of sport Leonardo and Coach Gattuso terminated their contracts by mutual consent.
As part of the official statement from CEO Ivan Gazidis on the club website, the Rossoneri pointed clearly towards a new downsized approach.
“AC Milan must now look to the future, whilst ensuring continuity, financial stability and sustainable growth.”
With Financial Fair Play violations being examined by UEFA and the potential exclusion from the Europa League for next season, the focus is now clearly on reducing costs and cutting debt.
Multiple reports have stated the reason for Leonardo and Gattuso walking away is the downscaling of ambitions from Champions League football to simply balancing the books, which means a focus on young, relatively unknown players who can be sold on at a profit.
If there is the need for immediate liquidity, then the first name out the door is likely to be Donnarumma.
The 20-year-old came up through their youth academy, so his sale would be pure profit, with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United interested.
They also have his replacement lined up, having Pepe Reina and also Under-20 Italy shot-stopper Alessandro Plizzari.
The club is also taking a huge axe to their salary bill, as Donnarumma currently earns €6m per year thanks to the deal worked out by agent Mino Raiola last summer.
Others cut loose at the end of their contracts are Riccardo Montolivo, Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata, Antonio Donnarumma, Andrea Bertolacci and Jose Mauri, saving circa €20m on wages.