An analysis of Milan’s funds for the transfer market: Player sales and the Europa League

By Rohit Rajeev -

With the 2019-20 season having finally drawn to a close, we can begin to reflect on what has been, and what might come in the transfer market.

Mercato season already feels like it is back in full swing even if the final game of the campaign was only on Saturday. Rumours are in overdrive, and there is a lot of speculation about how much money Elliott Management Corporation will entrust to Paolo Maldini, Ricky Massara, Stefano Pioli and the recruitment team.

Here, we take a look at how Milan have already been working to inject funds into their budget with some smart sales…

Please note: 1. These are estimates based on rumours and option to buy clauses. It may not be completely accurate. 2. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UEFA will judge clubs on FFP for the period of July 2019 to June 2021.

Part 1: Sales and Wages saved

With Sevilla havingmathematically qualified for the Champions League in 2020-21, they are now obligated to redeem Suso for €23million plus bonuses, which would reach €24m.

Given that Milan purchased Suso for €1m from Liverpool, they will make a profit of €23m on the player. This of course has a positive impact on the balance sheet and provides money to be reinvested for the transfer market.

Player sales

As discussed earlier, Milan made €24m in revenue from the sale of Suso. In the winter market, Krzysztof Piatek was sold to Hertha BSC for €28m. Milan spent €35m on the Pole in 2019 and gave him a contract until 2023. Therefore, his residual value on the balance sheet when he was sold was €27m – a capital gain of €1m.

Milan also sent Mattia Caldara to Atalanta in the winter on a loan with option to buy for €15m, which Atalanta seem keen to trigger.  If Atalanta do use their option in 2021, his residual value will be €14.4m by then and Milan can make a gain of €0.6m.

Another player on the transfer list is Uruguayan left-back Diego Laxalt. Interest from Russia and Italy has been shown, and his value on the balance sheets is currently €7.4m. If Milan sell him at €7m then they incur a minimal loss, though reports have suggested the club are looking for €8-10m.

Primavera product Davide Calabria will be moved on for pure capital gain since his acquisition cost is zero. Milan apparently estimate his value at around €10m, which would be a nice injection for the balance sheets.

Another sale we can expect is that of Lucas Paqueta. His Book value is €25m, and if Milan sell him for that amount then they avoid making a loss. If he is included in an exchange deal, things become slightly more complicated.

Left-back Ricardo Rodriguez is another player almost certain to leave. With him coming into to the final year of his contract, his book value is only €3.75m and if Milan manage to sell him for €5m – as per the option to buy in his PSV loan – Milan make a €1.25m gain.

Andre Silva and Ante Rebic looks to be a straight swap deal, but in terms of accounting it will not be counted as zero. Silva’s book value is €15m, but both clubs value their players at €25m, which means that Milan will make roundabout €10m profit from his sale.

Rade Krunic has been recently linked with a move to Torino, and he has a book value of €6.4m. If Milan can sell him for €7m then they make a profit of €0.6m.

Mateo Musacchio has a balance sheet value of €4.5m and is in the last year of his contract. With his injury, it looks unlikely that he will be able to be sold.

Duarte looks like the candidate who could leave. His book value is €8m, though there are no concrete rumours of any interest.

All the aforementioned should be added to the sales of Patrick Cutrone and Thiago Djalo, who left for a combined €28m.

Total revenue for the club at these estimate values: Piatek (28) + Suso (24) + Caldara (15) + Laxalt (7) + Calabria (10) + Rodriguez (5) + Silva (25) + Paqueta (25) + Krunic (7) = €146m.

Total profit from sales = €75m

Wages saved

Wages saved is not a direct income for the club. It is a mere estimation of the money the club saves with either players leaving the club or contracts expiring.

In Italy, the wages reported are those after tax (net). However for the clubs accounts, they pay the salary to the player and the tax to the government which is a direct cost to the club (gross). Tax in Italy is 50%.

Reference used for calculating wages here.

Formula to calculate the wages saved: Wage of player x 2 x number of years left on contract if player is sold = wages saved.

Suso: 3.5m x 2 x 2 = 14m
Piatek: 1.75m x 2 x 3 = 10.5m
Paqueta: 1.75m x 2 x 3 = 7.5m
Caldara: 2.2m x 2 x 2 = 8.8 +2.2= 11m (left in January)
Calabria: 2m x 2 x 2 = 8m
Biglia: 3.5m x 2 = 7m
Borini: 2.5m (left in January)
Reina: 3m x 2 = 6m
Rodriguez: 2.1m x 2 = 4.2m
Laxalt: 1.8m x 2 x 2 = 3.6m
Bonaventura: 2m x 2 = 4m
Giampaolo: 2m x 1= 2m

Total Wages saved: €80.3m

Part 2: Europa League

Milan played in the 2018-19 Europa League and were knocked out in the group stages. In the 2017-18 season, Milan made it to the Round of 16.

Taking into account these figures they earned, we can draw an estimate as to how much Milan can earn if they qualify next season.

2017/18: 14m (prize money) + 7m (ticket sales) = €21m
2018/19: 15m (prize money) + 4m (ticket sales) = €19m

However, Milan had to pay a €6m as fine for their FFP breach and hence their revenue was slashed.

With COVID protocol in place, it is not clear as to whether crowds will be allowed inside the stadium and whether clubs can cash in on ticket sales, but Milan can expect a minimum of €15m in its estimated revenue next season if they qualify for Europa League.

If the rumours are true and Milan are giving Pioli a budget of €80m plus 50% of player sales, then all of the above suggests that a €140-150m war chest is possible.

However, it must also be noted that Elliott Management are keen on drastically improving the overall financial health of the club, which is why expecting €150m to be spent on transfers is unrealistic.

What it does show, though, is that there seems to be no excuse for a ‘cheap’ market and that Pioli should be backed.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Anthony Rosati says:

    So by expectation of €150M for a transfer chest, let’s make some purchases! I’d say if you could reasonably land the following, I’d be very happy with the outcome of the mercato:

    Milkenovic – €30M
    Tonali – €25M + Plizzari
    Dumfries/Aurier – €15M
    Koopmeiners – €20M
    Pessina – €7.5M (think he’d go for €15, but with the 50% buy-back, it would only cost us 50%)
    Chiesa – €52.5M

    I’d also try to bring Baykoko back on loan with option to buy (€20-30M) or Florentino Luis loan for 2 years with obligation to buy (€50-60M range).

    Now you’ve created depth at all positions, you have brought talented youth into the team and you have a starting point to start building!


    CM = Tonali €25m + Plizzari
    Bakayoko €25m
    Florentino Luis Loan

    LW = Deulofeu Loan

    RW = Chiesa €52m

    RB = Dumfries €20m

    LB = Robinson €2m

    CB = Milkenovic – €30m

    TOTAL = €154m

    1. Anthony Rosati says:

      Why spend the money on Bakayoko when you could probably land him for a loan deal with an option to buy? His contract is still with Chelsea until 2022, so it is not likely that they are going to lose anything by loaning him out and why spend the money if you could land another talent instead (Boga or Berardi)?


    The new Fifa rules and regulations will only allow eight loan deals per club involving players aged 22 or over, including incoming and outgoing players, for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, with the number then being reduced to six for the subsequent 2022-23 season.

    This is the reason I see that Chelsea will likely cash in on Bakayoko so as to trim the on loan players.

    Secondly, I wouldn’t need Berardi when I have Chiesa. They play same position.

    But one signing I completely missed out on and is of great importance to us is Rodrigo De Paul, I don’t know how we can add €30m to the budget, but that is the best profile to compete with Çalhanoğlu in the AM position.

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