Cut price AC Milan need to show patience
03 August 2012 | FAHRAAZ PATEL
Theatre, opera and of course clothing will probably never disappear in the Italian fashion capital but this year, one of the city’s most beloved football clubs – AC Milan – lost some of their gladiators, men who had served the Rossoneri with pride and distinction.
Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seerdorf and Filipo Inzaghi have either left the club or retired, but it was selling two of Milan’s current stars that had caused widespread anger among the AC Milan faithful.
The decision taken by the club’s owner Silvio Berlusconi and vice-president Adriano Galliani to sell defender Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – both to Paris Saint-Germain – can, in my view, be seen from two perspectives.
From a financial viewpoint I understand why Berlusconi sold the star duo, clearly based on Milan’s ability to adhere to Uefa’s Financial Fair Play charter as well as building for the future.
Ibrahimovic’s wages were at a staggering 9-million euros a year and Silva – who upgraded his contract at the club in July to 6-million euros – were clearly numbers that the Rossoneri needed to get rid off.
The departure of veterans Nesta, Gattuso, Seerdorf and Inzaghi are also going to save the Milanese club 25-million euros a year, maybe not a big number in today’s economic terms but effective nonetheless in scaling down the wage bill.
It’s a situation that Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has accepted, even though he hasn’t had much say in the transfer market.
I then come to the second viewpoint in the ambition of the club.
I’ve always been a supporter of the financial charter and the protection it gives clubs, but I also clearly understand the anger felt by the Rossoneri fans at selling of Ibrahimovic and especially Silva.
I understand Ibrahimovic being sold off because he would love to write another chapter in his career after great success in Italy, and Milan saw this as win-win situation with the club saving 9-million a year on the Swede’s wages.
But selling Silva really question the ambitions of the Milanese club because offloading your best centre-half – the club’s current defenders are frankly mediocre – is clearly shooting yourself in the foot.
Just by looking at the performances of centre-halves Phillipe Mexes and Mario Yepes last season, showed they were poor in both their composure and pace.
There aren’t any defenders on the market right now that Milan are willing to spend real money on which could probably lead them going the route of the Primavera – AC Milan’s youth academy – a point Galliani echoed this week.
But the question remains, can this acclaimed youth system breed another Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta?
Milan’s midfield isn’t all gloom and doom as the media make out, but I still have some doubts about the depth of this unit.
A big season awaits the likes of Antonio Nocerino, Massimo Ambrosini – at the age of 35 – and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
The signing of playmaker Riccardo Montolivo, will allow the Ghanaian Boateng to be more versatile pushing Montolivo into the trequartista role – the attacking midfieder – a position Boateng wasn’t really comfortable with at first.
But that doesn’t paper over the cracks Milan have up front.
Antonio Cassano’s off-field health problems put more fear than hope into the Milanese faithful and with the injury-prone Alexandre Pato and the inconsistent Robinho around, the picture looks bleak for the Rossoneri.
If Milan are looking for short-term solutions, players linked to the club – Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and the possible return of Kaka – wouldn’t be the worst move considering that they won’t cost as much as paying Ibrahimovic’s wages.
During Berlusconi’s 26-year reign as the Milan’s owner, current fans accepted that they wouldn’t have a team that dominated Europe and Italy under coaches like Fabio Capello, Ariggo Sacchi and Carlo Ancelotti.
But Berlusconi has come to a point where he decided to look after the interests of the club financially despite all the anger and sadness felt by the current Milanese faithful.
The way I look at it, it’s all about a long-term solution and this could be the opening for youngsters like Stephan El Shaarawy and Urby Emanuelson to shine.
Patience will be the new theme for the Rossoneri fans.
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