GdS: No big signings and improved accounts – Gazidis’ vision clear but patience will be tested

By Oliver Fisher -

Dusan Vlahovic joining Juventus and Robin Gosens moving to rivals Inter from another rival in Atalanta has some Milan fans restless about a lack of movement.

Instead, the Rossoneri’s most influential moves could well be for an 18-year-old striker and a young defender that will hardly make a difference between winning the Scudetto on not. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Rossoneri ownership have a strategy that is equally understandable.

CEO Ivan Gazidis has often highlighted the key phrase of self-sustainability and this is the premise of any investment authorised by Elliott Management. Spending €60-70m mid-season to sign a top player would be the exact opposite of the club’s guidelines in the face of a drastically improved balance sheet, and the Paqueta and Piatek signings stand to prove that spending big in January doesn’t always bring results.

Milan’s accounts have substantially improved but they still read almost a €100m in the red. Elliott’s ultimate goal – not necessarily imminent – is to resell the club to new ownership, but in the meantime they want to make Milan as attractive to the market as possible.

A club without debts, with the balance sheet in order, and with a vital asset like the stadium, certainly boosts the chances of getting the right buyer in. Of course all of this comes hand in hand with sporting results too because they drive revenues and keep the club relevant among Europe’s elite.

A top defender will arrive in the summer, just as a centre-forward on the same level will have to arrive, but fans forget that over €70m was spent on new signings and turning loans into permanent deals over the summer.

The essential basic objective of the Rossoneri ownership is mainly to keep the virtuous circle of revenues from Champions League appearances going, because knowing that you can rely on that €50m each year is huge.

Consolidation of the accounts is the number one target of Elliott’s vision and they have already invested €560m in capital for a total of €740m when factoring in money spent on the squad. However, it must be balanced with the real risk that the American fund have no titles to show for their tenure.

Critics point at Gazidis and his time at Arsenal, noting that in his nine-year tenure the Gunners settled their accounts, increased their revenues through a new stadium and improved their balance sheets, but no league titles have arrived. Patience will be needed, but it is necessary to understand how much patience there will be.

READ MORE: Milan unable to register signing of teenage midfielder due to bureaucratic issues

Tags AC Milan


  1. Just wait 2 or 3 years, when Theo, Leao, Isma, Tonali, Tomori, Mike, Kalulu and Tonali realize that after all their hard work they are still fighting for top 4 positions and instead of winning titles they are in a mediocre club with no future because Scudetto is not the goal, UCL is not their goal, sustainability is (read that return of investment and shareholder value). They will leave the club faster than Calhanoglu ran across Milan to Join Inter.

    You can’t keep a winning mentality, if you goal isn’t winning. High standards breed champions, aiming for top 4 positions, creates mediocrities. We laughed at Calhanoglu when he said he moved to Inter because he wanted to win something. Turns out, he was right.

    1. You know what else they won’t like? Not being able to play (and earn bonuses from) European competition if Milan get a ban for not trying to meet their financial agreements.

      The reality is that some of those players will leave but Milan getting the house in order and being able to get top 4 results is what will bring long-term sustainability, not spaffing everything up the wall on signing megastars they can’t afford.

      1. Please FFP is a joke. Just look at all the oil clubs, how many of them were banned? UEFA is as corrupt as Serie A refs, if not more. Elliott is just stingi with bribes as they are with transfer fees.

        1. FFP is a joke but it’s real for some teams. Especially the ones UEFA hates. Like Milan. Milan don’t have the oil money to lubricate things as PSG etc.

        2. FFP isn’t a joke at all. Manchester City and PSG have gotten away with it… on absolute technicalities and a huge spend on legal fees. And those clubs have the means to artificially inflate sponsor values and player sales; they are exceptions, not the rule followers.

          Milan signed up to an agreement last time they fell foul of FFP and got a 2 season ban reduced to 1 – if they don’t make efforts to stick to what they agreed, it will not be looked upon favourably and the voluntary nature of it will make any CAS case much more difficult.

    2. Are you new to football? Your comments suggest you don’t understand the sport and you certainly don’t understand finance. Running AC Milan isn’t like playing football manager.

      1. Do you understand pro athletes? They are not office workers, they play to win. Win games, win titles, win championships. Juve, Inter they are investing to win, Milan is investing to exist. Once these keeds realize that they are at Milan to work towards nothing, they will pick up their shit and join a club whose goal is winning, not f*cking shareholder value. Athletes dont give a flucing f*ck about sustainability.

  2. Pathetic. These players are fighting their asses off to try and win The Scudetto and the management won’t give them even a little bit of the support and help they need. Why would the young players want to stick around when the ownership doesn’t want to win titles , they just want to make the books look good so they can sell for a big profit. Shameful.
    This is where all the paid PR trolls for Elliott come on here and start sticking up for them.

    1. I wish I was paid for my opinion! Alas, I am simply providing it for free. The difference between us is that I can see the bigger picture and the common sense in the strategy. Is it frustrating to see big signings made by rivals while we sign young unknowns, absolutely but the strategy is working. I ask you this, how many clubs in Europe can now afford to buy Theo Hernandez? Maybe a handful realistically can given the transfer fee involved? Yet, he plays for Milan and reportedly is on the verge of resigning. At this stage of his career, Milan could never afford to pay the 70 million required to buy him, yet he is here. I know it is hard to take a step back and remove emotions out of it but all the vitriol being spewed by some is quite frankly disgusting considering this is a club you allegedly support.

      1. We lucked out because he was already here and he has a girlfriend that doesn’t want to leave Milan. This isn’t about having him or any other young player anymore, it is about being able to keep him. If we don’t change our mentality and stick with aiming for top 4 positions year after year, they will pick up their shit and leave. Not because they don’t love the club, not because they don’t feel good at Milan, but because they are athletes, that want to compete at highest level and win trophies. And is management sticks to their guns, I don’t see Milan winning s*it any time soon. It happend with Gigio, Calhanoglu, will happen with Kessie and Romagnoli. Only a matter of time till it happens with others.

        Calhanoglu literally said he left because he wanted to win something.

        But yeah, lets not question what is obviously a flawed logic and blindly believe what glorified accountants spokesperson it trying to force-feed us. If we keep regurgitating it, it might go down easier next time.

        1. I am unsure how you found out the player’s inner thoughts? Nobody including these reporters knows what motivates each player’s choices (though it is often money). The reality is only 1 team ever wins a championship and they can only have a limited number of players. As long as Milan stay competitive with a chance to win, we should all be willing to give latitude to management if progress is being shown towards winning. After having finished 6-7th under previous management where spending was plentiful, finishing 2nd or even top 4 is progress and should buy some belief in the project. That said, you kids go off on your rants if that makes you feel better, just don’t criticize others for understanding the management’s plan.

          1. Oh I understand their plan, perfectly. I also understand their pan is stupid and it wont work, because football club is not a hedge fund and football players and accountaints.

            Winners a winners, being 2nd, 3rd, 5th 10th, you’re a loser. Aiming for top 4 positions we are aiming to be losers and we’re also accepting that mediocrity is fine. Sooner or later, these kids are gonna realize they are capable of more, and they will go to a club where they can achieve more.

            But that is okay, because that will maybe create great return to investment and our sustainability goal be acheaved. We will be shit, but sustainable.

  3. Donnarumma is on him and Raiola. Funny how goldfish fans already blame club for his stupidity. He forced himself out. Nobody gives him more than we offered,so nobody wanted to buy him.

    Good on Juve and Inter, but in the summer they will be broke while we move for Renato Botman and a CF. If we get Darwin as well, we are almost fully set for years.

  4. Dont be drama queens, put some faith in project, Milan is entertaining again.

    If you really watch games not just bitch online, you would know how much better than Juve we are. Vlahovic alone is not enough.

    If anything we can still save on dead weight in our team to make place for primavera and new signings

  5. On the one hand personally I am happy that Milan is better now. But on the other hand I am worried that Milan is like Arsenal, without the desire to win.

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