Fassone: “Milan are very good from a financial and economic point of view, fans can expect 2-3 new signings, the refinancing of the debt will be made, Milan to Elliott a remote hypothesis”

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Marco Fassone during a Milan event in Guangzhou, China, on the 16th of July, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone during a Milan event in Guangzhou, China, on the 16th of July, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Marco Fassone spoke at length about how things have been going in the past 365 days for Milan on the corporate side, assuring everyone that the financial condition of the Rossoneri is good, even if ‘it is difficult to imagine paying very big fees for players’ in the next mercato.

April 13 will forever be an important date in the history of Milan as on this date, one year ago, the club was sold to Yonghong Li, who acquired it from Silvio Berlusconi – a man who bought Milan in 1986.

As the Diavolo celebrate one year of Chinese ownership, CEO Marco Fassone – the person the new owners chose to lead the way of the new Milan – spoke to different media outlets, including the Italian daily sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport to discuss the past, present and future.

“If the last 12 months were better or harder than expected? At the management level, I thought I would have some more difficulties, since it was the first year of adjustment,” Fassone told GdS. “Instead, very good responses came from the people inside the club, there was a more positive reaction than expected by the fans – which was not obvious – and even if there is some regret for the first part of the campaign which was below expectations, we then found the right course.

“On the corporate level? I’m also happy for the part that goes beyond the pitch. We started a Chinese company [Milan China], we are the only club to have a company on site with a Chinese management and not just a commercial office. The stadium project takes shape week after week, whether it would be renovated San Siro or a new stadium. The commercial side has worked well, with seven new sponsors. And the box office [matchday revenues] was much better than expected.

Marco Fassone and Han Li during Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on February 28, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone and Han Li during Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on February 28, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“The balance is positive, the road is the right one, we are in line with the forecasts. Next week’s meeting with UEFA and the refinancing with Elliott? The refinancing will be made, even if the modalities are still under discussion. There are three options that Mister Li is evaluating.

“There is no urgency to do it tomorrow morning, there are still six months [the debt deadline is in October]. I feel quite serene that it will take place on time and with sufficient margin to not arrive in October. After that, of course, if the refinancing is for five years and not six months, I wouldn’t need to jump so many obstacles for national and international licenses, but I can live with it.

“The support of the club has always been there, the capital increases are continuous and frequent, and have allowed us to work without ever reaching the bottom of the barrel. Again, the hope is not to arrive in October, if we closed the refinancing a few months before that, maybe four, I’d be more serene. Within a week or ten days, Merrill Lync should get the final proposal to be submitted to Li.

Yonghong Li at Milanello on March 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Yonghong Li at Milanello on March 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“How much the refinancing affects UEFA’s judgment? I believe that for the Settlement Agreement it impacts less than for the Voluntary Agreement. I think that at this moment what matters more is planning for the next three years as Milan intend to return within the posts of the Financial Fair Play.

“The discussion [with UEFA] will focus on the type of penalties for the violations of the recent years. I hope that the refinancing will remain more in the background. Also because that Elliott, in this perspective, has already guaranteed in writing their commitment to deal with any critical issues.

“The extent of the sanctions? I don’t expect penalties that would greatly limit our moves in the transfer market. Certainly, the balance between investments and sales will be much lighter than last year. Something consistent with our current revenues, which are around €215-220 million a year.

Marcco Fassone arriving at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)
Marcco Fassone arriving at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“Elliott is increasingly closer to Milan? Their funding is a covenant one, with bi-monthly checks. They check you work well and the plans are respected. The relationship with them, I assure you, is excellent. The rumours that predict that soon Milan will be in the hands of Elliott? It seems strange to me, on the borders of the impossible that it would happen to a President who has put in so much money into the club and keeps putting money. Milan would go to Elliott only if Mr. Li won’t make any more capital increases, so I think it’s a very remote hypothesis. In my mind, I think it will not happen.

“If the next capital increases will come regularly? The Board of Directors has indicated the deadlines for the next installments and from now to June 30, the installments that are needed to close to season in the best way will arrive regularly. We are all very happy.

Marco Fassone and Han Li before Chievo-Milan at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on October 25, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“Outside of Milan not everyone is happy? Milan are very good from a financial and economic point of view. Common opinion can sometimes be deceptively induced so that there seems to be problems. Instead, there aren’t any: if we analyze the financial statements serenely, we see that Milan are not bad at all. And then I would like to remind you that by acquiring Milan, Mister Li indebted himself. He made an investment that weights only on him, reliving the club from the point of view of debt.

“Milan will have a rosy future as I said before? It depends on us. There are no big obstacles that say ‘attention, we cannot grow anymore’. The only limitation is Financial Fair Play, which at a certain point imposes a quota of investments, even if you want to do them.

Han Li (L), Yonghong Li (C) and Marco Fassone (R) during a press conference at Casa Milan on the 14th of April 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“Mister Li remains a mysterious character? In Italy, Milan, Inter and Roma have Presidents who only come to our country a few times a year and delegate wide operational power to their managers. This does not mean that they are not with passion, but only that they do not seek the visibility. I, myself, do not have the same personal relationship that I had for example with Massimo Moratti or Aurelio De Laurentiis. His style is speaking and appearing little, and acting with facts.

“He loves Milan a lot, since he was a boy. I met him 15 days ago in London for financial reasons and I can assure you that he is not just in charge of the business. He knows who plays, he wanted to know everything about Gattuso. He is a President who participates in all aspects, who trusts his management in the day-to-day and asks for a report. Then, we’ll look at the results at the end.

“Rumours are talking of a possible entry of other investors and even that Li is preparing an exit route? As far as I know, I think he is calm and eager to be the Milan president and take the project forward. Wanting to be supported by other investors is possible, but I don’t want to appear tactless, these questions concern the ownership, these are only my impressions.

Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“The renewal of Gattuso [the ex-midfielder signed a new deal to 2021]? It was the choice of Mirabelli and mine, he convinced us for a thousand reasons and we entrusted him with a medium-long-term project which allows him to fully express the cycle of a club being reborn. He deserves our unconditional faith. The club is convinced that he’s the right man to take us where we want to be.

“The transfer market? We will have a consolidation of the squad. 80-90 percent of our players have performed at expectations or above them. However, we couldn’t have spent €240m if we hadn’t sold some players or made capital gains on players. Mirabelli did a great job. There will be progressive improvements: the fans can expect 2-3 new players in positions we consider to be critical.

Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli before Arsenal-Milan at the Emirates Stadium on March 15, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli before Arsenal-Milan at the Emirates Stadium on March 15, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“If it’s true that we could be forced to sell at least one big player? With our numbers in hand, on a financial level, I don’t think we’re obliged to sell anyone. However, having made a point of the situation with the sporting director and coach, I can say that there will be players coming in and going out. Donnarumma among the exits? Everyone has complete confidence in him. He’s one of the pillars and we see Gigio in our minds as our goalkeeper for the long term.

“If I could go back a year, would I put myself in this adventure? Absolutely, it’s beautiful. I would struggle to think of something more rewarding and satisfying.”

Marco Fassone and Han Li during Milan-Udinese at Stadio San Siro on the September 17, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone and Han Li during Milan-Udinese at Stadio San Siro on the September 17, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Fassone also spoke to MilanTV: “At the beginning, even before the famous ‘closing’, there was a bit of concern that Milan would become less Milan and more Chinese, basically that it would lose its identity, regarding our country and specifically the club itself. I think that a year since the ‘closing’ there is much less concern and that we might still have the same ingredients that allow Milan fans to identify with Milan. It may be that they might even be more numerus in the future because many authentic Milanisti continue to approach us, there are legendary Milanisti opinion leaders, who may have looked at this adventure a year ago with a little skepticism and today they too are on board.

“Our financial situation? We could never have been able to spend €240 million last year, because unavailable funds are not unlimited and above all I have to keep the accounts in order, if we hadn’t made a series of player transfers, which were not so predictable and were not part of any preordained plan, and capitalized on player sales, at a realistic value not the inflated values we hear or read of.

“None of which was easy, we made a good job of this too. If today, you check our latest figures – just last week we approved the semi-annual financial statement – which is much better than our target, you can see that it’s much better than our target because of these activities.

Marco Fassone during a Milan event in Guangzhou, China, on the 16th of July, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone during a Milan event in Guangzhou, China, on the 16th of July, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“I believe that 80 to 90 percent of the players we have signed, together with the others who were already part of Milan, this year have performed up to, and some even beyond, the expectations we had. There is not so much to fix, this was more or less our plan. We said ‘summer of 2017: a revolution’, 11 new signings is indeed an impressive number. In the following years, we will make piecemeal corrections, each season will show us where we need to fill the gaps and we’ll do so.

“So, I think that we can expect 2-3 new players coming in to strengthen those positions that Mirabelli and Gattuso identify as priorities. 2-3 players who can help us improve or to substitute those who may have arrived at the end of their time with us, or their careers. So, no more revolutions, only progressive adaption, which should allow Milan to be truly competitive in every respect, having as a starting point a squad that we think has fantastic potential and great quality.”

Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli movie poster. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli movie poster. (@acmilan.com)

Speaking to Premium Sport, Fassone added: “It was the year of the dragon, and time seems to be flying. The ownership gave a significant impression and at the same time left me great freedom of movement: it gave us financial support, advice and suggestions while embracing the ‘Italianess’ of the management. From my first contact with the Chinese group, I felt trust and esteem.

“The ‘closing’? In the days leading to April 13 [2017], I suffer for the regime of uncertainty that we experienced because of the difficulties in getting to the ‘closing’. When the last euro of the new ownership was paid, there was satisfaction, for me it was a day of almost childish joy.

Marco Fassone (L) and Han Li (R) together with Auro Palomba (C), the Founder & CEO Community Group at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (via @auropalomba)
Marco Fassone (L) and Han Li (R) together with Auro Palomba (C), the Founder & CEO Community Group at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (via @auropalomba)

“Milan has a set-up that leaves us happy for the future. Our squad is young, Italian and valuable, and it will be integrated over the years. Gattuso’s renewal is the icing on the cake. In terms of things off the pitch, we did a lot of things, even if there’re less visible, and in 3-4 years we will have another stadium to increase revenues, whether it’d be completely new or a renovated San Siro with Inter.

“The Chinese group and Yonghong Li? From day one they said that want to invest heavily in a team that is an icon in China. In 2-3 years, when the time is right, they would also like to put Milan on the Stock Exchange: Yonghong Li wants to remain the owner and continue this ambitious project. He is a man of few words, and a lot of concreteness. He speaks little, but effectively.

“He is different than the Presidents we are accustomed to, but every chat with him was incisive, like that of a few weeks ago when he asked me why I didn’t proceed with the renewal of Gattuso. Rino? When a three-year contract is given to such a young coach, the hope is to open a cycle like those of Ferguson and Wenger, but for now I would be satisfied if the next three years were of a rebirth.

Marco Fassone during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on December 27, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Marco Fassone during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on December 27, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“No UCL a catastrophe? No, absolutely not. Maybe we’ll invest less, but all the plans we’ve presented to UEFA and investors have been made without the Champions League, so the fans can be calm. Obviously, this summer will be a market campaign with a different balance between signings and departures but above all to satisfy UEFA: it’s difficult to imagine paying very big fees for players.”

Milan will continue their work on and off the pitch, with the intention to return to the top of world football. The more immediate target is securing European football for next season, as Milan sit in 6th.

17 COMMENTS

  1. i hope this mr. x, y & z isn’t reina, sampdoria dude & swansea’s li,
    i’m really worry aboout our financial position, but still i’ll support Milan whoever people who running it,
    Forza Milan…

     
  2. First clean the team of deadwood

    Define the philosophy

    Target reinforcements worthy of this shirt

    Make my Milan a fearsome team again!

    Forza Milan!

     
  3. with all being said then we can all rest assured that milan are on the safe hand. right?

    2-3 signings…sounds more like 2 signing if nobody leave, plus one if a regular or somebody(s) leave. those 2 new signing probably free agent in the summer.

     
  4. 3 signings? ok let’s roll. As long as we keep our best players and those two signings are Verrati, Alaba and Cavani we are good. But who are we kidding…

     
  5. Well he didn’t exactly say what the budget is for this summer… they did say that last year.
    I am fearing that those 3 new signing might all be free agents again. So we are going back that road again, great.

     
  6. Guy’s there are actualy some interesting free agents .
    1: max meyer from shalke 04
    2: bernard from shaktar donekts
    3: balotelli ( look i know he had a bad attitude but he looks to be matured and to be fair super mario in form in way better than all of our attackers ‘ and he’s free !!! . So if milan could get this 3 players for free and sells kalinic for 20/25 M and we get 15 for bacca and 15 for niang then milan should try to get
    Di maria he’s not happy at Psg and milan could snatch him up for around 40M

     
  7. 2-3 players. Reina, Ki and Strinic… “:)”
    I hope he means quality players who will improve and bolster our squad both on the pitch and on the bench.

     
    • plz don’t bring players like ” Ki, Strinic, Berardi, Politano, Callejon” coz they are avg shit, plz don’t make Milan an European garbage……sell “Kalinic,Bonaventura, Suso, Montolivo” n with those money buy “Di maria+Memphis depey”( this pair will cost 70m), by selling those 4 I think we can get 70 m+ money………then bring Max Mayer+ Bernard as free signing…….then play Hakan, Mayer, Bernard in midfield and Di Maria, Silva/ Cutrone, M.Depey up front………Kessie, Biglia, Lacatelli in the bench….imagine the depth n quality of a side like this and u wont have to spent money to make a side like this in next summer, plz think Mr. Fassobelli, plz think like this, what a speedy n qaulity squad it will be………… one more thing, if Donna want to go then plz let him go n bring a perfect striker like Cavani/ Auba by exchanging with Donnarumma…………..

       
  8. One thing that I like so much about Fassone is his sincerity and being so direct. Let’s wait and see not forgetting what Impact ffp might make in Milan’s market

     
  9. If they don’t sign quality players how will this team ever improve ? . The gap between milan and other topclubs like RM ‘ barca ‘ bayern M. And others are very big . If milan ever wants to compete against juventus and other topclubs then they need to sign top world class players ! . The player we now have are not good enough to challenge big football clubs . Sure suso can improve sure donnaruma can get very good sure hakan isn’t bad sure we have a good paire of centerbacks but that’s not enough . We need more depth and better and faster players with a lot of pace . If this club doesn’t buy big players then they need to develop them atleast give our youngsters a chance then . Intead of signing old & slow free players ‘ give the young players we have a chance to play and get better . look at barca they had messi ‘ iniesta ‘ xavi ‘ puyol ‘ pique ‘ busquets all in theire youth and man united in the 90’s they had beckham ‘ scholles ‘ kean ‘ giggs all in theire youth . If they didn’t gave them a chance then they wouln’t have made it . So why is’t milan giving theire youth a chance they rather play montolivio or bonnaventura who are both useless

     
  10. What I’ve just read above sounds very much like bullshit!! Fassone is a master to talk like this. Oh dear, a new era of lies, con artists and insecurity has opened. There is no security in one single aspect of the interview. Such a con artist this guy and so full of shit!! Worried for Milan!!

     
  11. Nice to read that everything is right from an economical point of view and that we do not need next years CL place to be in plan and progress further more. But actually with all the money we will have, you can’t buy devoted and passionate supporters.

    I know there are a lot of this kind out there, but here on this blog are so many dumb, hateful bullshit writing and themselve calling Milanista that I feel bad for being avid for consuming everything related to Milan.

    Mr. Fassone is open and honest enough to present us real facts and insight in his work and instead of showing some respect, you guys are wise and teach us how to run the club way better. I know it isn’t easy to be a calm and serene Milan fan nowadays – I suffer by myself – but please do what is in your power and just support the club. No one of you will give us funds to buy better players nor know exactly real market values or transfer figures.

    If you want Milan to buy more expensive players, make more funds available visiting the stadium and buying merchandises. If you want to do better business and be the new Messiah of AC Milan by yourself, play some football manager and try your luck. But as long as you want to be a Milanista only support Milan, respect our leadership, coach and players and show some faith in their words.

    Don’t get we wrong, there’s no problem with any suggestions for the upcoming window. But stay respectful and trust the ones who professionally care about Milan. It is not accidental that they are in charge.

     

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