Gazidis hints at buying experience in January; discusses Boban and Maldini rumours

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis remains ‘convinced’ that he and others at the club can overcome the various obstacles and ‘restore pride’ to the Rossoneri.

Milan held their annual Shareholders’ meeting at Milanello to discuss the outcome of the 2018-19 financial year, which ended on June 30.

APA – the Association of Small Shareholders – was present to question those in charge of decision making at the club, especially in light of the increased losses from the previous year under Yonghong Li’s ownership.

MilanNews.it did recently note that owners Elliott Management have already covered the losses while the equity has in fact increased – a show of economic strength.

President Paolo Scaroni was faced with some tough questions from the APA during the meeting before Gazidis addressed those present.

“I am convinced that we can reach the goal if we work together and through all the challenges, we will restore the pride of Milan,” he said, via MilanNews.it.

“First I want to talk about Elliott’s vision for this club. It is a clear and bold vision, which wants to bring Milan back to the top and wants to do it not in 10-15 years. They wants to do it in such a way that the fans are proud.

“I know it takes time, it will be difficult and we will have to change our attitude, but we have owners that want to achieve success.

“It’s a beautiful challenge, unique in world football and I see it as a unique opportunity to bring a giant so important for world football back up.

“Modern Milan was built under the leadership of Berlusconi and Galliani, we have more than 400 million fans in the world and we will build the future on this basis. Our name is still respected throughout the world.

“It was a period of incredible activity, only some of it is visible. Not all of them went well. We are stabilising the club financially. The capital increases amounted to 368 million and the losses amounted to around 200 million.

“In such a difficult period, we invested 135 million between the winter and summer sessions of transfer markets. We have brought people who love the club and we know that there have been no successes recently, but everyone wants to work for it.

“We finished last season in fifth place and we want more. We are disappointed with the start [of this season], but Pioli will have all our support. We have accepted a ban from the Europa League and we know that we must bring the club back in line with the FFP and we must improve our performances on the pitch.

“We need to keep costs under control and improve the team. We have a clear strategy, investing in young players who can become top players.

“Now we have the youngest team in Serie A and that’s part of the strategy, but it doesn’t mean we won’t invest in leaders like we did with Higuain and we’ll do it again if necessary.

“We have a high salary for players, which generates losses. We need to bring our salary back under control and improve performance.”

It was recently reported by La Repubblica (via MilanNews.it), that the recent comments from Paolo Maldini – during which he guaranteed that the team would be competitive soon – had enraged Elliott Management.

However, it seems that wasn’t the case.

“Maldini and Boban are doing a great job. We are all impatient, me more than anyone, but it takes time,” Gazidis continued.

“It’s the only way we can grow. If we burn money on declining players, not only will we make our accounts worse, but we will also worsen the sporting department. We are taking a difficult road that will bring the club to financial strength and with a team that will have a future.

“We invest in clubs even off the field. Even for revenues, it takes time. There is a competitive market for sponsors. I experienced this change in the Premier League. We want to guarantee sponsorship for all assets. This calls for time and work. We have implemented a level sales team and we want to replicate the successes that other clubs have had.

“We have invested in infrastructure for the club, which is essential for commercial growth. We are expanding the sales team to upgrade areas such as merchandising and to allow us to have more revenue. We are investing in digital. This investment wants to bring the community closer to the club.

“Elliott is making a huge commitment to the club and the city with the new stadium. There is an investment of 1.2 billion. All this is used to finance a team that returns to a high level.

“There is skepticism and fear and I understand the concerns if the sports results do not arrive. Even if we can make mistakes, Elliott are firmly focused on their vision and, despite the rumours and speculation, we will succeed.”

Tags AC Milan Ivan Gazidis