Gazidis on the vision for the future: “What we’re doing at Milan is very clear, very difficult”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis has once again re-iterated the club’s vision of bringing wages down while improving the overall quality of the team.

It has been well documented that since Elliott Management Corporation took control of the club back in 2018 and instilled Gazidis as the Chief Executive Officer, the club have deployed a recruitment strategy based around signing exciting young talent to develop into a future core.

December 1 will actually mark the two-year anniversary of when Elliott Advisors hired Gazidis, and so far it would be fair to say that the project is beginning to provide some encouraging sides after a difficult first 18 months.

Since Gazidis joined Milan have had three managers and almost appointed a fourth in Ralf Rangnick, while chief football office Zvonimir Boban was shown the exit door.

Milan’s accounts have taken a hit due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but Gazidis believes that the vision of the club is still clear moving forward.

“What we’re doing at Milan is very clear, very difficult,” Gazidis told ESPN.

“We have to bring our wage bill down while at the same time increasing performance and that’s not easy to do.”

Gazidis claims that Milan have a global fanbase of 450 million people and attendances pre-COVID were showing a positive trend too, but the Rossoneri and indeed Italian club football in general are lagging behind the Premier League.

“A lot of the success of the Premier League has been based on this global outlook, this internationalisation,” Gazidis adds.

“It happened both in terms of footballing ideas but then, more recently in terms of foreign ownership and international management. And this mix of ideas, this diversity has been one of the driving forces of its success.

“I think Italian football, clearly, on the field is international and our brands are international brands. “So all the elements are there. Look at the interest from private equity groups. They’re not stupid … they want to be involved in the modernisation and professionalisation of Italian football, they know there’s enormous untapped potential.

“If we take the right steps, Italian football can go back to … the top of world football. I think Serie A has the greatest potential out of the ‘Big Five’ leagues in terms of growth. And I actually think Milan has the greatest potential as an individual club.”

Gazidis also feels that sometimes certain key figures within the game are guilty of not wanting to take risks and fall back to the same methods.

“[Football] culture is quite closed. There are football people and anybody else with new ideas who is not a football person is seen as a threat,” he added.

“And the football community kind of coalesces together to form an impenetrable barrier for self-protection, maybe because they’re suspicious of new ideas. They fall back on the tried and tested clichés.

“Football is an environment that challenge your prejudices. They get found out. Look at the changes in England, for example. Wenger played a big part in that. When you’re successful, things change very, very quickly because the results are there on the pitch.

“As people see a clear vision, as our fans enjoy the football, things can change very quickly. And I think Italian football as a whole is an environment that’s very ripe for that and will take a huge step forward. And they’ll do it quickly. Surprisingly quickly.”

Tags AC Milan Ivan Gazidis