Massimiliano Mirabelli said Milan will only sign someone who can raise the quality of the squad, claimed there’s no chance Suso will go to Inter and discussed the corporate matters.
Uncertainly and confusion rules at Milan right now as the ownership situation remains unsolved and unclear, with Elliott Management widely expected to take over the club in the coming days and put an end to the Yonghong Li era.
It’s unknown what Elliott would do with the Diavolo as some reports are saying they would immediately sell the club to the highest bidder, while others claim they would run the club for a few months and then sell it. In any scenario, the jobs of Fassone and Mirabelli could be on the line.
As of today, however, Mirabelli is still the director of sport and today he was at the Milanello press room to talk with journalists as Milan begin their preparations for the new 2018/19 season:
“What changes in my work considering all the corporate issues? Look, we have to think positively, because before we think about what eventually maybe can happen, we have to be positive, we have the youngest group of players in Serie A, third youngest in Europe and since Mr. Gattuso has arrived, despite the difficulties, we finished third [in the second round of the season] and we must start from these things, we must restart from this young team that we have, they will be more experienced, there are many players who arrived last year who need to restart and now we have the possibility to have the group start with Gattuso’s methods of work, without the difficulties that he found when he became coach. You see negative things, but instead I’m very positive for next season. We only have to watch what’s happening on the pitch, and I’m convinced that all the players came with great enthusiasm and no one came to say that they want to leave. I’m very, very positive for the future.
“Other teams raise the bar with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus and Radja Nainggolan at Inter? We have to see what we are doing and not what other clubs do. The transfer window is an important match, but afterwards we have to remember that on August 19th there will be a referee to whistle for the kickoff and it will be the pitch to say and to give the results.
“Why did we start with the restructuring of the club’s staff, with managerial and technical changes? Well, maybe this reasoning needs more space than a simple answer, but it’s clear that when there’s a new ownership, it’s clear that they thought about preparing a management team that then will be able to continue with the work that we have put down.
“Could Milan lose one of their top players? No one – no players and no agents – has come to us to tell us that want to leave Milan. And then again, it’s the transfer market. I already told you a few days ago that we are in a phase where we will have to understand things on the basis of the parameters of this Milan and of this year’s Milan, as we still don’t know whether we’re going to play in Europe. We will have to do a zero-balance market. We will see, we have some ideas of signings and departures, but we don’t need to sell important players unless someone comes and says he wants to leave.
“Suso to Inter considering his agent [Alessandro Lucci, who brought Bonucci to Milan] talked to them? No, agents can talk and say whatever they want. I don’t know if they spoke to Inter. I can exclude that Suso is going to go to Inter. He has a clause for abroad, but he’s always said that he wants to stay at Milan and we’re confident he’ll stay with us. I can exclude him going to Inter.
“Would the participation in the Europa League change the summer budget and objectives [UEFA excluded Milan from the competition]? Look, clearly if you participate in the Europa League or you don’t, it involves more or less money, cash, and you can do more or less on the transfer market. But as Rino said, we conquered the qualification on the pitch and we hope that no one takes it away from us. If you don’t play in the Europa League, you will have to invent something more.
“A possible sale of a goalkeeper [Milan signed Pepe Reina on a free transfer]? Beside from the goalkeepers, we are not going into the market to propose our players for sale. We have many interesting players, players will go away only if Mr. Gattuso decides and says OK. If there are negotiations, as usual I’ll call Mr. Gattuso and he will say yes or no, if he wants to renounce a player.
“How do we make up the days we lost in the transfer market due to all the issues? I know Gattuso’s ideas, but our job is to prepare more alternatives, hoping that we’ll have the time to close the first choices and then we’ve prepared something like at least 10 choices for every role [laughs].
“Alen Halilović [who arrived to Milan as a free agent this summer]? I think you know him, he’s a young player. He used to be a great talent and now he’s talked about as a lost talent. For us it’s a bet to see if Rino succeeds in restoring the talent that once was great and now is lost.
“If Milan are considering a top player? It depends on what you’re calling ‘top’. Well, in my opinion, Gattuso thinks like me, that when a player comes, we need him to help us make a jump in quality. So, it has to be an important player, otherwise we’ll stay as we are as it would be useless. The important thing that both the roles and in the choices that we propose, will be agreed with Gattuso.
“If I was expecting such a situation in the corporate level after just one year? No, neither myself nor you could’ve imagined it. Milan was used to a 30-year long ownership, so no one was expecting this thing after one year. Maybe we would have worked in a more peaceful, linear way without these problems, but like Rino said before, we don’t have to transform all of this into an alibi, because we are the ones who will have to wear the shirt and represent Milan, so we only need to think about the best, because this club fought and worked a lot for important things. So, despite the issues, we are not going to change our paths or important projects.
“Ongoing talks for contract renewals after Romagnoli and Cutrone? Look, we have some young players that have to renew, all the others have signed or closed. Now we have players with long contracts, maybe in 2-3 months we will think of sitting with someone else and start negotiations. I’m not sure if you [the reporter asking the question] was talking about Jack Bonaventura, but we will try to keep them for as long as possible, but we have no problem on renewals.
“If fans can believe in names like Alvaro Morata and Ciro Immobile? We never said names, so certainly like we said before, if some striker leaves, we will have to sign another striker and we will have to think about someone better. But again, we are aware of the dynamics of the transfer window and we’ll see at the appropriate moment. But not today, we are not going to say that fans can dream about this player or another, it would not be correct. Fans would also have to be aware that there are people working 24/7 and then in the end we will see where we arrive.”