Friday May 31 2019
Milan dragged into modernity

Rather than downsizing of ambitions, fans should see the Ivan Gazidis revamp as dragging Milan into becoming a modern football club, writes Richard Hall.

A new era is emerging for the Rossoneri and it doesn’t include Gennaro Gattuso or Leonardo. Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis has moved on behalf of Elliott Management to make sure the club operate with a new philosophy, even if it is based out of necessity. There will be no more big transfer fees, there will be a concerted effort to balance the books and there will be a focus on youth. Whilst this might be an unfortunate situation for the red and black half of the city, it could just perhaps be the making of them.

The last time Milan were forced to operate under stringent financial restrictions was after the mismanaged spending of Silvio Berlusconi. Sinisa Mihajlovic and then Vincenzo Montella looked into the youth system and tried to fuse together a team that could try and compete. As Gigio Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Davide Calabria, Manuel Locatelli and Patrick Cutrone started to merge with the old guard, the Milanese actually fell onto a system that worked and they qualified for the Europa League.

In April 2017, Yonghong Li arrived and the monumentally irresponsible spending started, ultimately ending in no Champions League and the club in the hands of Elliott Management.

What would have happened to this team one wonders if the Far Eastern ownership had not interrupted its steady rise? Perhaps nothing, as the philosophy was a reactive one and not a forward-thinking plan. This is now what Gazidis now claims they have.

He set out three clear objectives. Firstly, he plans to re-organise Milan economically, finding ways to generate more profit and reinvesting these profits into the club. Secondly, he plans to increase the quality of the team by investing in youth. These players are not being bought to sell on, but develop at the club and become part of the Milan’s DNA. Finally, he wants to find ‘the right solution for the stadium’. By this he means either modifying San Siro or moving.

The stratagem is a sensible one, especially as Elliott Management have put no time limit to deliver this. Whilst sceptics may say that this mirrors the Arsenal project, when youthful players were sought after but unfortunately sold, as the stadium needed heavy funding, they should take a closer look.

Gazidis has made bold claims in the past, nobody can forget the statement that after the stadium was paid for then Arsenal would challenge Bayern Munich for size of club, but he doesn’t lack ambition.

The argument is that Italy and Serie A, is a far more archaic place than the Premier League when it comes to the money that surrounds it. This model is more of a Bundesliga approach and perhaps more Serie A teams should be adopting it. How many current Italian clubs wander from season to season with little planning?

For this, Milan will need a new Coach and a new Sporting Director. Club legend Paolo Maldini looks to already be taking on the job left by Leonardo, now working with Gazidis to identify new candidates for Coaches and it seems that Sampdoria’s Marco Giampaolo is in top spot in the Best UK betting deals, slightly ahead of Simone Inzaghi. A club like Milan would be an honour for both Coaches, who have distinguished themselves working well with few resources at Samp and Lazio.

There will be some tough challenges ahead this summer for the Rossoneri. There are some players in the current squad who perhaps don’t warrant the large wages they are on. This is a real opportunity not only to move these on, but to trust in some of the younger players who may now be able to get more game time and develop in a new system that operates with a clear plan of personal and economic development.

Perhaps the expectation of this new ‘baby Milan’ will be harder to stomach for the fans, especially if they lie in mid-table in December next campaign. If this is so, the long-term vision should be admired and not scorned, as what Elliott and Gazidis are trying to do is to drag Milan towards being a modern football club. This is something that should be a priority for many Italian sides.

Juventus managed to rise from the flames of Calciopoli and they haven’t done that badly since 2006, have they? This is not the beginning of the end; this is beginning of something new.

Have your say...
It's not a mystery why it was Li, as he was the only fool willing to offer that much money for a club in such debt. And he had to take a CRAZY leveraged position to do so. I'm sure there were other offers, but serious people due their due diligence and when they saw Milan's books probably valued the club at 400-500mm, instead of 750mm or whatever Li paid. Ever the grifter Berlusconi saw his chance. Good for him. Now the fans pay.
on the 5th June, 2019 at 10:44pm
@Maldini's Heir. I'm not gonna argue the lack of a top manager. I think more than managers and players Milan's problem since they fired Allegri in 2013 has been their ownership. Reading the article "Milan Present Sole UEFA Case" and made me realize just how poorly the club has been run since then. Since the departure of Kaka and retirement of Malini in 2009 really. Berlusconi is squarely to blame for that plus dumping the team on an incapable Yonghong Li for higher profit.
on the 5th June, 2019 at 10:42pm
Maldini heir
All that to continue with this LW myth you keep banging on about! This team needs a playmaker and a proper midfield and to get rid of atleast 10 players who are literally robbing Milan in wages. The plain and simple fact is there are alot of overated players there and many who are simply not good enough.
on the 5th June, 2019 at 7:39am
not have let that happen. It really is that simple. A LW would give us much needed pace. One of the other reasons Milan have struggled is because teams have been able to play a high line against us. We're boxed in from every goal kick. A pacey LW would push teams back and create space for other players and provide service to Piątek. Football really is this simple.
on the 5th June, 2019 at 12:38am
difference. And one thing that is very noticeable about Milan is we have mostly struggled against the likes of Frosinone and less against our immediate competition for European places. This season was no different where were unbeaten against Roma, Lazio and Atalanta and really should have been Inter. But we dropped points to Frosinone and Empoli who both finished in the bottom 3. Last season Milan were also the first side to drop points to Benevento and then lost to them. A better manager would
on the 5th June, 2019 at 12:37am
Of course nobody wants to hit the reset button again after a promising season... but The ownership are making cuts to comply with FFP and we have no control over that.
Like you said, Sarri won the EL by being courageous and 'un-Italian', and that is why Giampaolo is a good option. His vision of football is similar to Sarri's. Attacking football, possession, and pressing.
We have no pull or funds to get a top manager because we have a financial crisis on our hands.
on the 5th June, 2019 at 12:32am
their level. And that is because Milan have not had a top coach for about 8 years. It's like giving a Formula 1 car to an amateur. They're not going to do as good a job. A better manager could easily turn the existing squad into, and I'm not exaggerating, title challengers. Conte took Chelsea from 10th to 1st in one season. There are numerous examples like this. The problem at Milan is we keep changing the players and not focusing on getting the right manager. The manager makes all of the
on the 5th June, 2019 at 12:31am
@ AC Milan Fan So now it's a case of everyone else underperforms as well....I don't think anyone appreciates just how much the Milan players have under-performed. I have cited numerous Milan players who played better for other clubs: the Atalanta contingent, the Juve contingent and even Piątek played better for Genoa. Whether they were mid-tier or top-tier it doesn't matter. These players, and pretty much every player who has played for Milan for about 8 years, has played nowhere near
on the 5th June, 2019 at 12:28am
Milan need more than "a LW and an experienced coach". 4th will be much more competitive next season. I'm already penciling in Juve, Napoli and Inter for top 4 finishes. If a talented Roma can get going, Lazio keeps their coach and squad together, ditto Atalanta, and Torino likely strengthens then all of them will be fighting for 4th. But Milan seem to be hitting the reset button, or a least the pause button. If so then give me young talent and a coach if not Sarri himself, then Giampaolo.
on the 4th June, 2019 at 5:17pm
@Maldini's Heir: As to not beating Frosinone, yeah it's tough. But, I think you underestimate the under-performance of some of the other clubs. Milan were lucky to be so close, and did not seize the opportunity to qualify in a weak year for the competition for 4th. Unfortunately, it seems that Elliott needs to make cuts to comply with FFP. The chance for CL in the very near term came and went this season, I think.
on the 4th June, 2019 at 5:09pm
European results. Sure Sarri won the Europa League. By not being anything like other Italian managers. Sarri would be my dream. Gasperini would also be great. And if all else fails surely we can convince Tuchel to give up the boredom of PSG or for Pochettino to accept that he's never going to compete with the billionaires over at Man City. This is where directors earn their keep. Not in re-building teams every transfer window.
on the 4th June, 2019 at 3:09am
I'm not saying we should or could go for some of those managers. Personally I'd hate if Mourinho came to Milan and I'm slightly relieved that Conte has gone to Inter. Both are obnoxious. Equally Donadoni is probably not the hottest coach but he does have international experience. However, what this shows is there are options. Personally I'd prefer a foreign manager because Italian managers are far too rigid tactically. People who say Italy produces the best managers on the planet need to look at
on the 4th June, 2019 at 3:05am
According to Transfermarkt the following managers are free:

a) Allegri.....
b) former Real and Spain manager Lopetegui
c) Mourinho
d) Spalletti
e) Blanc
f) Donadoni

At "smaller" clubs there are the following managers:

a) Pellegrini at West Ham
b) Benítez at Newcastle

The following managers may want a new challenge:

a) Pochettino;
b) Tuchel (PSG);
c) Favre (Dortmund)
d) Galtier (Lille)...

by way of example.....
on the 4th June, 2019 at 3:02am
Which brings me to Giampaolo and the other candidates linked to the Milan job. I can't say I'm that thrilled. Given that all Milan probably need to get an extra point next season is a better manager and a left winger, it seems like however number of middle men we have at the club only have two jobs this summer with finding a manager being the most important. Conte has gone to Inter, so we snoozed there. It seems Sarri will either stay at Chelsea of go to Juve. But there are other managers out
on the 4th June, 2019 at 2:41am
What have I missed?

Anyone pointed out yet that Milan missed out on the Champions League by a point and had we beaten Frosinone we would be in the Champions League?

Sure, we definitely need a total overhaul to beat Frosinone and get that crucial point!

And we mustn't forget that we achieved this with a manager with virtually no experience and no left winger....

So imagine Milan had a manager with experience and a left winger?

We might challenge for the title......
on the 4th June, 2019 at 2:37am
@Marco Branca: Right, the overspending on certain players over the last 5 years has set the club back a ton! @Primo, I think Plizzari/Reina would be fine if Gigio is sacrificed to help stabilize FFP. Of course I'd love for Gigio to be the next one club idol a la Maldini, but lets face it. At 20 he's already making 6m per year and Raiola is just getting started. Milan just doesn't have the ability to keep him at the moment.
on the 3rd June, 2019 at 7:40pm
Do you really want to see a modern youth believing Ac Milan. Here the platter for you like it or not that is the true; stick to it -1 Reina 4 Conti 2 caldara 3 Romagnoli 6 calabria 7 ben nacer 5 mauri 8 bonaventura 10 suso 9 piatek 11 chiesa (4-3-3) ultra modern team for me this one. Justified and pure .
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 4:44pm
btw i really don't see the problem with milan selling players the club spent 200 million on new signings 2 summers ago time for money to be recoup and used on something else. In addition milan would be lucky to get 60 million for donnarumma he only has 2 years left on his contract he was always leaving as soon as he signed a contract for 6 million a season that was the inevitable outcome. The only player who could get milan 90 million or over is romagnoli anything less is poor business.
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 12:20pm
milan has the 5th youngest team in the league in terms of squad % are 6th in having domestic players they also have 5 youth academy players in the senior team. Yet people still say buying younger players is the solution, it is part of the solution milan real failing is the lack of a clear idea of how a team should be made up and buying players who are technically weak and physically slow. It is only going to work if gazidis is capable of having clear ideas and buying the players to make it work
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 12:07pm
the article is looking at how to make Milan financially positive. For this i partially agree with gazidis that we need to invest in youth a la ajax but not as a compromise for top honours..with no leonardo, who i will miss, i would go for lucas campos & his team for sporting director. he sounds like a very smart guy.
for coach, we must pay to get the best & for me, of the coaches we can get, sarri is the one i want. he plays brave, is committed to his style & doesnt need to spend big
on the 2nd June, 2019 at 6:47am
I'm seeing Donnarumma to Manchester United for 60m euros. 60m??? To MANCHESTER UNITED??? Who will pay 90m for Lukaku?
Donnarumma to MU should easily break the record fee for a GK.
Kepa went to Chelsea for 80m. Kepa's market value was 20m according to tranfrmarket.
Gigio's is 50m according to the same source.
I am stunned by what I am reading in the news.

Sell whoever else but not Gigio at 60m ffs.
PS. Don't sell Romagnoli either.
on the 1st June, 2019 at 4:07pm
Milan dragged to what? This nonsense must stop. I feel like FI is attempting to cheer us up but It only makes us look like an idiot. I'm fed up with all this fantasy that someday Milan will get back to its old glory days. Nowadays, being a Milan fan is either someone who forgets what's like to watch good entertaining football or someone who's plainly stupid, rooting for an awful team who can only gives misery as return for his/her loyalty.

@viktor, I admire your foolishness.
on the 1st June, 2019 at 12:28pm

For a person who remains Anonymous you sure talk a lot of smack kiddo.

Im use to being let them down by my team lately. Happens few years in a row now and of course with a bitter taste missing out with 1 point of CL sucks BUT unlike you I have remained loyal and supportive my entire life, dedicated to the bone. Proud to stand up and say I support my team no matter what. The new generation kids that supports whoever Neymar goes Ronaldo are just sad. Milan for life.
on the 1st June, 2019 at 9:38am
Fabinho from liverpool if possible for the highest solution.And what must for me to milan is they lacked the driving force from regista role. A fresh face in there is should be top priority, ben nacer i suppose?. And down the flank you have paqueta and suso but a general backup should increase the competitive edge. Finally milan really need to think how would they go, is it 433 taboo or rather traditional milan way going with gung ho two striker.Milan fans deserve the pie of cutrone&piatek yummy
on the 1st June, 2019 at 7:56am
Hey, Get into this. Keep donnaruma if only sky is your limit. Otherwise as per this passage about downsizing you have to go into empathetic way. Like letting go of calhanogulo this time around and possibly moving abroad bigilia and rodriguez too. But talking about suso clumsily will get you this milan side's spine broken. He alongside romagnoli and piatek are the posterboyz for milan. Here is my fiction milan for you - reina, conti, caldara, romagnoli, calabria/taglificao, get one of keita or fa
on the 1st June, 2019 at 7:28am
Are you seriously not kidding! How come milan fans tolerating this! I am your arch rival flinching at this! The path this article talking about is dragging to hell not modernity!!. Sassuolo sustained in this path but further top its suicidal & slideways just like fiorentina this year. Didnt you noticed how fiorentina in last couple of years followed the vegeterian way to only fall further. Simple reason its a club par with roma and lazio. Acted less so they duly regressed...
on the 1st June, 2019 at 6:27am
Getting annoying reading Milan fan comments on the net - is it not clear that you have no money and need to make up debt - selling big players gets you to even let along actually having any money to sign players. Inter was in a similar position when thohir took over. There’s no top coach coming, even if you finished 4th this year you would have been banned from competing until you actually start making money.. Leonardo and Gattuso left because they know the club isn’t aiming for top 4 anymore
on the 1st June, 2019 at 5:11am
Milan dragged into mediocrity, lol
on the 31st May, 2019 at 10:34pm
Jad.. is correct, if Milan wants quick fix with FFP.. Donnarumma is the one to be let go. Suso could go too... 40mln clause... The two of them going for about 100mln between them, would sort the problems... And would be sufficient for... spending more for a really top coach!!! This should be a priority... Not this Gazidis marketing giberish...
on the 31st May, 2019 at 7:50pm
This is what happens when you spend 20mill on Bertolacci, 25 mill on Kalinic, 38 mill on Andre Silva....this bad spending sets a team back years and now you are experiencing it. Guess that Milan fans must find it hard to rebuild the midfield without Marco Branca being sporting director at Inter
on the 31st May, 2019 at 6:03pm

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