CEO Ivan Gazidis has insisted that AC Milan must continue with their method of trying to do things a bit differently to rivals Inter and Juventus.
Milan’s owners Elliott have so far preferred a recruitment strategy centered around buying young players with high potential to develop and record capital gains on the balance sheet.
A look down the list of signings since their arrival says everything: Theo Hernandez, Ismael Bennacer, Rade Krunic, Leo Duarte, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic joined in summer 2019 – the oldest being 25 at the time.
Sandro Tonali (20), Brahim Diaz (21), Diogo Dalot (21) and Jens Petter Hauge (20) arrived last summer, while Fikayo Tomori (23) was another injection of youth in the recent winter window.
Gazidis gave a long interview to Grant Wahl on the “Fútbol” podcast, with his statements transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
He was asked by Wahl: “What are your strategies for making Milan grow from a sporting point of view?”
Gazidis replied: “We came to a club that was in a really bad financial situation. The revenues have remained the same for a long time while the other clubs also grew from this point of view, and at the same time the costs have grown leading to really important losses.
“It is not a situation that you solve overnight, it takes time. While it’s not popular, we had to cut costs by trying to improve performance. It’s not an easy thing at all, I assure you. If we had done the same things as clubs like Juventus and Inter we would not have been able to reach them and compete with them because they were ahead of us with their plans.
“So we brought a lot of new ideas, we relied on analysis and a very good scouting department, we wanted someone to lead all this and so Maldini returned to the club after 10 years for the first time. We have focused on young players, we have bought and will continue to buy great talents from all over the world, players eager to improve, proud to wear this shirt and the desire to develop their career with us.
“Players who, in one way or another, have to prove something. Ibrahimovic also falls into this category. Although age is a very romantic challenge for him, he has a special connection with the club. Leading a group of young guys and bringing Milan back to the top is a challenge made especially for him.
“We needed to find the right coach and we found him in Stefano Pioli. After the lockdown we had an extraordinary period that cannot only come down to the result, victory or defeat: for Milan, victory is necessary, but it is not enough. We want to play dynamic, proactive football, and we are doing it with a group of young people.”