There are various rumours currently fluctuating around the vast and ever-populated realms of social media stating that President Silvio Berlusconi is ready to sink somewhere between €70-80m into the summer mercato.
Some of you will say that’s only right, and that the mediocrity has gone on for far too long, which is correct. What better way to remove stagnation and lack of progress than by bringing fresh blood into the club. That amount of money is substantial and could totally change the outlook heading into next season.
You have to remember, there is no European competition, so our revenue streams as fairly limited in that sense. Of course, we still get a healthy wedge of money from TV rights, sponsorship and merchandise sales, but brand isn’t necessarily a sustainable way to keep building.
Season ticket sales for this season were down by almost 20% from 2013-14, dropping below 20,000 to 19,395. In all likelihood, this won’t drop too much heading into next season, as the remaining 20k are hardcore supporters (implying our season ticket sales have been stripped to the core). They probably wont rise though, either, so for Berlusconi to make that kind of a commitment is, dare I say it, admirable.
Lots of people want Silvio to sell up and go, but he isn’t going to depart quickly, lets face it. Having revealed he is only willing to sell a minority share, yet wants someone willing to pump hundreds of millions in implies that he doesn’t want to sell altogether because his demands are too high. Who in their right mind would sink hundreds of millions into a flailing European ex-giant for a minority share? Certainly not anyone with a even a slightly economic brain.
Whether you think Berlusconi is the poison of our club or not, if he isn’t going to sell then the least he can do is put money in himself.
Now, I’m no financial expert by any means, but in footballing terms €80million suggests a transfer window to be reasonably excited about. Without wanting to over-generalise and assume, that amount of money gets you two exceptional players (at €20-25million each) and four/five young or solid players (€8-10million each). Even with the inflated market, if you overpay and end up being held to ransom by clubs and agents, there is nobody else to blame but those at the board.
Again, some will argue that all €80million gets is three very good players, and that isn’t enough to rebuild the club. They may be right; we need a major overhaul (in my opinion starting from the defence forwards, but thats for another article altogether), so two or three players however good they may be might not do the job.
Silvio Berlusconi has pretty much come out and said this week that Pippo Inzaghi will not be coach of Milan next season, which is not shocking news by any means. He claims there is a difference in ‘vision’ for the club, however anyone can see that it is because he does not trust Filippo to achieve a better finish next season, despite the money he promises.
Which leads to potentially the most important point of the whole saga: it is not the money available, it is who is spending it.
For the budget Milan is currently on, I would prefer Jürgen Klopp to Carlo Ancelotti in the current situation. Milanisti everywhere desperately want Carlo back, and that is completely understandable, but frankly our squad isn’t even fit to grace Ancelotti’s presence. Carletto is accustomed to managing elite players and teams that play brilliant football, so he would be wasted on the group of mostly no-hopers that we have.
It is a beautiful vision to think of Ancelotti coaching the young talent such as El Shaarawy, Hachim Mastour and to an extent Bonaventura, and to think of the recruitment that he could achieve is frightening if given the correct support financially. Not many players in world football don’t want to play for Carlo Ancelotti.
Yet, in the situation we are currently in, with a strict budget until categorically proven otherwise, I think Klopp is the man we should target. He has built up Dortmund from the ground, taking them to Bundesliga title and Champions League final from relative obscurity. The similarities between what he could achieve here in Milan to what he did, with another massive club, at Dortmund incline me to feel he would be suited to the job.
Klopp strikes me as a man who will get every single ounce of effort and ability out of his players, and would assist the development of the youth to no end just as he did with Götze, Kagawa, Lewandowski and Reus.
Speaking of those players, in the 2010 closed season he brought in Lewandowski, Piszczek and Kagawa; the following Gündogan and Perišić, and in 2012-13 he brought in Reus and Sahin. All those cost pretty much bang on €40million in total, which is half the reported summer budget for Milan. Jürgen certainly has an eye for a player, and even if it was his scouts who spotted them he could bring them to Milan as well as far as I’m concerned.
Attracting Klopp or Ancelotti is difficult, but manageable. Carletto would love to come back in theory, but in practice he will probably want a different challenge and a club ready to compete immediately. Jürgen may be lured into the BPL, while rumours are circulating about the Fenerbahce job (which I find hard to believe).
Somebody like Unai Emery would be a good appointment also. What he has achieved is nothing to be sniffed at; leading Valencia to a third place finish in 2009-10 and 2010-11, and despite an unsuccessful spell at Spartak Moscow he won the Europa League with Sevilla last season.
We need a motivator and tactician hybrid to produce the best on field results, but a respected name for the best player recruitment and retention. Some of the names we are linked with, such as Immobile, Song, Darmian and Carlos Bacca, are good players. However, if you want to be the best, you have to get the best.
There are lots of amazing players out there, and of course we don’t have the appeal of Juventus, Manchester United, Real Madrid etc., but that doesn’t stop us getting the next best player. What is to stop us going for Falcao (who is a great player put in a tough situation), Ibrahimovic, Verratti, Thiago Silva; players that will make a difference. I feel with the right man at the helm and that kind of budget available we should easily be able to attract those kinds of players.
It is easy to say things like “wages” or “Ibra is too old” but those are poor excuses. Wage wise, we will be cutting plenty off the bill with players such as Mexes, Bonera, De Jong and Pazzini leaving, and it is highly likely Essien, Muntari, Zapata, Zaccardo and others will exit. It is time for a total clearout.
My point to all of this is that the pain has gone on too long, and I know so many people are as passionate as I am about the club. Without any of us claiming to be football or finance academics, we can collectively see what needs to be done. There are logical steps staring us in the face, steps which need to be taken to get the club back.
If the summer goes right, Milan can kick on, although we as fans are as in the dark as anyone. I, like many, hope for a brighter 2015-16 season, and who knows, it might just be the start of a new era.
Article by Oliver Fisher