Maldini’s impressive work with a tight budget sends a strong message to RedBird

By SempreMilan -

Reports have emerged over the past few days suggesting that AC Milan technical director Paolo Maldini might be relieved of his duties in the event that the club do not secure a spot in the next edition of the Champions League.

As our colleagues at write, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica wrote that the owners RedBird Capital are seriously thinking of sacking Maldini from his role, thus entrusting the future of the technical area to a person more in line with their vision.

Without going into the merits and demerits – at least not in this piece – of RedBird’s choice to continue investing in young prospects rather than raise Milan’s technical level immediately and not tomorrow (perhaps), there are still not many better in Europe than Maldini in doing this.

In the 2021-22 season – with the fourth-highest wage bill in the whole of Serie A (€100m – the Milan created by Maldini won the Scudetto by overcoming the competition from Napoli (€110m wages), Inter (€130m) and above all Juventus (€172m).

Excluding Fikayo Tomori’s permanent purchase which was an initial loan deal that began in January 2021, the amount spent by Milan for the 2021-22 season was €61.2m, less than Atalanta (€65.2m), Juventus (€129.5m), Roma (€127.65m) and even Fiorentina (€62.2m).

This summer, Red Bird invested €48.67m in Milan with €32m spent on Charles De Ketelaere alone, which there’s no doubting appears to be Maldini’s big mistake at present.

However, the amount spent by the Rossoneri is significantly lower than Napoli (€76.05m), Juventus (€106.5m), Atalanta (€99.9m), Sassuolo (€54.2m) and Udinese (€52.2m) thus putting Milan in sixth place among the clubs that spent the most last summer.

Guess which team has the lowest salary among the four sides that reached the semi-finals of the Champions League? Of course it is Milan with €86m, just over half that of Inter (€132m) and not even comparable to that of Manchester City (€214.3m) and Real Madrid (€242.12m).

Were things different in the quarter-finals? Only Napoli (€79m) and Benfica (€52m) had a lower wage bill than the Rossoneri.

Maldini has made errors, ones which were also dictated by his inexperience in the role, but his signings built a team that led Milan well beyond their expectations, as well as clearly above the economic resources that the owners themselves put into the club.

Paraphrasing a well-known Chinese proverb: when you point your finger to judge someone, look at your hand. The other three other fingers are pointing at you. It could well be that the proverb applies perfectly to the ownership.

Tags AC Milan Paolo Maldini


  1. Pls Redbird/Elliott don’t waste time to sack Maldini if you give another money to Maldini he gonna waste again with his rubbish

    1. Shut the f*** why Maldini in all these error? I believe that u are not a Milan supporter bcos a real Milan Fans would never sound like u have sounded… Maldini is Milan legend and would always be so, with all arms he’s always welcome 🤗🤗🤗… It u that isn’t wanted in Milan…

      1. Maldini is not the main problem, but part of it. He made a huge error signing De Ketelaere who is useless. But that was a purchase made out of desperation as all other transfer attempts fell through. That’s because few star players want to come to Milan, because no other stars are there! They need to spend big to start getting stars in.

      1. Hahahahaha it’s sooo funny.LOL @Poli. That should keep him quiet for a few articles.
        Oh yea they def read our comments.. sometimes I make comments and see articles written in regard to what I wrote lolololol.

  2. Impressive work?
    Let’s compare.
    – Juventus spent 106 mil on buying players. 42mil of those 106 are for paying off Chiesa who has played there for 2 years already
    Juventus received 111 mil from players sales
    plus 5 mil after the mercato
    – Napoli spent 76 mil on buying players
    Napoli received 80 mil from selling players
    plus 4 mil after the mercato
    -Sassuolo spent 54 mil on buying players
    Sassuolo received 76 from selling players
    plus 22 after the mercato
    -Atalanta spent 99 mil on buying players
    Atalanta received 106 mil from selling players
    plus 7 mil after the mercato
    -Udinese spent 52 on buying players
    Udinese received 62 from selling players
    plus 10 after the mercato
    -Fiorentina spent 37 on buying players
    Fiorentina received 48 from selling players
    plus 11 mil after the mercato

    -Milan spent 48 mil on buying players in 2022/23
    Milan received 11 mil from selling players
    MINUS 37 after the mercato
    Milan spent 93 mil on buying players in 2021/22
    Milan received 5 mil from selling players in 21/22
    MINUS 88 mil after the mercato
    Last 2 years Maldini has spent 141 mil on buying players, and he has brought in 16 from sales.
    MINUS 125 million.
    But that’s not all. In the last 2 years Maldini has lost Hakan, Kessie, Donnarumma, Romagnoli, who combined were worth at least another 125 mil.
    So that’s a quarter of a million euros spent or lost in the last 2 years by the work of Paolo Maldini.
    If you are going to tell a story SempreMilan, then tell the whole story, not just what fits your narative.
    Paolo Maldini is not a prime minister of a country where he can just spend tax payers money without bringing any money in, and without any consequences
    Milan is a private business and you can’t have an executive who is just burning your money.

    1. And before his defenders come with the “Oh but he got us back to the UCL, won us the scudetto, got us to the semi final of the UCL”, all of that happened in spite of Paolo Maldini not because of him. It was thanks to the great work by Pioli and the players. That’s why there are reports that the owners wanna keep Pioli and get rid of Maldini, because they realize the great work Pioli has done even though he has been handicapped by the work of his director who was making his squad weaker year by year by losing his most important players for free without replacing them or replacing them with mediocre players.

    2. I get what you’re saying about sales, but what about the story to be told about ROI? Do you know what ROI is? Return on Investment. This isn’t in reference to income received from sales, but from income derived from the performance of the asset. Romagnoli asked for more in salary than the club thought he was worth (food for thought: perhaps Romagnoli didn’t even really want to renew, apparently loving the idea of playing for boyhood club Lazio), Donnarumma is earning…12m EUROS PER YEAR. Is Romagnoli a 6m per year CB? Did any other club even try to sign Donnarumma aside from PSG? No way we were going to (or should have) paid the 8m per year to renew. Maignan is a better goalkeeper and earns 1/4th his salary. This is not even an argument. Why did they not sell these players before they expired? They club calculated that the players would be worth more on the pitch in their final year helping to achieve sporting results (i.e. finishing in the top 4) that would then enable improved financial results in the long run over selling someone like Kessie for 20m, and then paying 40-50m for a proper replacement. THE CLUB DOES NOT HAVE THE CASH FLOW YET to be able to do this. So that 20m would have brought in a Vranckx in 2021 (the summer before Kessie’s final year) and there is no way we would have won the title with that vs. Kessie. In other words, the club determined to sacrifice the short term income from a final contract year sale (small, because of the heavy discount) for the long term goal of increasing cash flow by qualifying for the CL. And they did just that. Remember that not three years ago we we losing hundreds of millions of euros per year AND had a UEFA settlement agreement to operate in a certain way to avoid furth punishment. LIKE BEING BANNED FROM EUROPE. People just completely forget this. Remember we couldn’t eve play in the Europa League for a year? We’ve come a massive long way from being banned from Europe to suddenly being in good financial health.

      1. It comes down to this.
        If Paolo Maldini addressed the contracts of those players on time, learned about demands, compared to what he can pay them based on the budget, if they are asking for too much then you gotta sell them, not let them walk for free. He never set a deadline for any of them, allowed for negotiations to drag out, allowed players to enter the last year of their contracts and lost them for free.
        I know people will come back with the stale “You can’t sell a player that doesn’t want to leave”, well that CAN and CAN’T is the difference between a competent and incompetent director.
        Milan is in great financial health but not thanks to Maldini but the great work of Gazidis.
        Look at even the contract renewal of our best player Leao. It’s about to happen and he won’t leave for free thanks to the CEO who had to step in the negotiations and get the job done.
        Love Maldini the player, greatest defender of all time, Milan biggest legend, I hope he is still part of Milan in some kind of shape and form, but he cannot be in charge of the sporting department. You can’t have a sporting director that is incapable of making sales, which is a massive part of his responsibilities in that position

      2. And NO you could have actually sold Kessie for 40-50 mil and replaced him with someone who cost 20, like, i don’t know Enzo Fernandez. Same player that Maldini decided not to sign because he was chasing the most injury prone player in football history Renato Sanches. Yeah he was chasing a player who cost more, was about to pay him higher salary just so he can come in and keep Zlatan and Florenzi company in the treatment room.
        Just that decision there is fireable offense.
        Not to mention that he asked the owner in January to give him money to sign Zaniolo, another injury prone, low production nut case of a player. The same clown that had more red cards than goals and assist last season at Roma, and he just got another red in Turkey 5 minutes after he was subbed on.
        All of that will be also being analyzed by his bosses.

        1. Sold Kessie for 40-50 mil in his final contract year? This implies a worth of 100-120m with multiple years remaining. I would rethink your assertion. Kessie was good, but he’s not a 100m player. Sorry.

          Enzo Fernandez – Why didn’t we get Enzo? Why didn’t we get this guy? Why didn’t we get that guy? Hindsight is 20/20. Before failing this season EVERYONE wanted CDK. 18 goals in Belgium and the next KDB! Yay! Remember that last month before signing how people were slaughtering the club and Maldini for not completing the signing already? Yeah. Then they got him. So Enzo was doing well in a smaller league, as do hundreds of others. CDK hasn’t turned out. Whoops. Kalulu bought for 500k, now worth 30m. Theo bought for 20m, now considered one of the best 3 LBs in the world, worth at least 60m. If crystal balls existed, we would have signed Messi and Mbappe when they were 12.

          Florenzi – Florenzi? Who cares. He’s was 3rd choice RB from the start. He was brought in for his experience for a group of players that were averaging like 25 y/o before him and Giroud arrived last season.

          Zaniolo – Disciplinary records have nothing to do with product on the pitch. That has to be ironed out by the coach. He’s got 3 goals in 9 league games for Galatassaray being in the starting eleven just 10% of the time (Transfermarkt). Messias has 5 in 22, being in the starting eleven 46% of the time (Transfermarkt). At that rate Zaniolo will have 6 goals in 18 games, more than Messias in less games, being in the starting 11 far less often. You posted about why didn’t we get Dybala in another post, he’s just as injury prone and MUCH more expensive. Isn’t this a hypocrisy?

          1. Zaniolo at Roma was a starter
            2022/23 1 goal, 4 yellow cards
            2021/21 2 goals , 5 assists, 10 yellow cards , 1 red card,
            2020/21 6 goals, 2 assists 8 yellow cards
            2019/20 4 goals, 3 assists 8 yellow cards
            You don’t have to project his production in Turkey, as I said he is more prolific in getting yellows and reds than goals and assists. And he is a forward, not a defensive midfielder.
            Oh and BTW IN Turkey a certain Fabio Borini is 2nd highest scorer in the league and leads the league in assists.
            I’d rather Maldini bring him back to Milan than spend 20-25 mil on that bum Zaniolo.

          2. Poli, sure. I’m focused on the logical deduction, not on Zaniolo particularly. There are a number of players I’d much rather have than Zaniolo. The point was to poke holes in the logic. That said, Zaniolo seems to be more highly regarded than Messias and Saelemaekers as a right winger. I think more to your point, Zaniolo’s productivity, or lack thereof from your perspective, stems more from his fitness issues. THAT said, given our budgetary constraints Zaniolo’s upside is still greater than Messias or Saelemaekers. Again, not my ideal choice for RW, but at 15m (the price prior to Gala) I think taking a punt on him could have been worth the risk. Also, who ever said Borini was THAT bad? I would take Borini over Messias and Saladmaker, that’s how little those two produce in terms of offense at RW😬.

          3. You just can’t be serious

            Not everyone wanted cdk, he was playing in a bum league and it was taking maldini 57 years to close that pathetic deal

            So your rationale for florenzi is ‘who cares he’s 3rd choice’s yet he’s NEVER fit and makes 3m

            Origi another one with dogshit fitness too and he is not even a footballer, 3m as well

            Dybala would have come in and been our best player from hour 1 and his wages would be probably 75 percent covered by the two bums above and you actually wanna justify not getting him

            Don’t pretend like maldini avoids injury prone players LOL

            Maldini is simply a below average director

            Can’t sell water in a desert
            Can’t close deals quickly
            Can’t give the manager what he wants and needs
            Can’t replace crucial players he loses on a free
            Complains every 5 minutes about the budget yet wastes it 2 years in a row

          4. @NoMirakuru, Kevin de Bruyne was playing in the same bum league before moving to Chelsea, who didn’t have the patience to develop him, and after a couple of years of getting regular playing time elsewhere and developing went to Man City and the rest is history. The vast majority of players start in smaller leagues or lower divisions. They play in youth leagues. They show good levels there and then move up, etc. Have you ever heard of a player who started their career at 18 (i.e., never played football a day in their life) go straight into the starting lineup of a first division club in one of the “big five” leagues and score 20 goals or get 20 assists? There is a developmental process. So, really stupid comment from you.

      3. Don’t try Vero. His take on Maldini is so one sided. He just won’t listen to any other rationale that doesn’t fit his hate.

      1. I wouldn’t put Tonali in as a great signing. And it’s too early to tell on Thiaw. And Maignan while great when he plays also misses months at a time. Injured way too often for a keeper. More misses than hits for Maldini, not even bringing up the valuable players he let leave for free.

    1. With the exception of CDK, all meant to be bench players. As to CDK, if we’d failed to sign him this summer, I wonder if you’d be one of the ones saying how bad Maldini and the ownership are for not signing “top talent”. Remember who everyone was like “OMG CDK BROKEBIRD BETTER SIGN HIM”? Yeah. Hindsight is 20/20 and you can’t sign them all and see which one works out.

        1. Yes, true. Point conceded, but we still have to deal with budgets. Like, we haven’t even fully addressed STARTERS. How are we going to sign quality depth? Also, half of this list are on loan, so there has been no major financial commitment. I agree the the club should send these loanees back, and try to sell Toure and Rebic. Since we’re all about developing youngsters and budgets, why not promote Bozzolan and Chaka Traore to backup Theo and Leao? Surely they can’t be worse than Toure and Rebic. As to CDK, he deserves on more season. As to Pobega, I think he also deserves on more season. If the club brings in another CM of starter quality, as they should, Pobega will fall to 5th choice CM, and he’s more than enough for that. Plus he helps with the homegrown player list.

          1. Right, but the budget would look much different if we didn’t let several valuable players leave for free. That is why you either resign or the sell the player before he gets into the last year of his contract. Hopefully Maldini has finally learned that but that’s a costly lesson. Even with the budget he had he shouldve done much better. Just see Napoli.

          2. I love when people say this lmao “Cdk Deserves another season”

            Why exactly? He’s shown exactly ZERO ability, can’t do anything right, scared to play football, scared to do anything, mentally more fragile than a middle school girl with no dad
            So why exactly does he deserve another season if he’s so fkn trash

  3. We could have built a formidable squad from free signings but there’s something about free signings that Maldini just seem to no like

  4. Impresive ? Yes send strong message to RedBird for sacked maldini & his beloved coach pioli. . I only see his work impresive in signing theo,maignan,leao . Bennacer cannot rated him since he is often injury,Tonali milanista but still not world class yet ,Giroud old and not goal scoring striker type. The rest of the squad are just average player & some of them below average. Signing CDK,Origi,Junior messias,Florenzi are disaster because our budget only 50m euro and wasted to sign player that dont have impact on squad, maldini can sign amrabat ( pioli request ) if not buy adili & CDK , adili 10m euro & CDK 35m euro . Amrabat are strong DMF ,can play as double pivot or 3 midfield or brahim position in leg 2 semifinal CL. 50m euro budget look like small for EPL club but for serie A club thats huge and you shouldnot wasted it buy player that need 2-3 years to adaptation. Maldini can learn from beppe marotta, Zhang not given marotta transfer budget so he sign free player & loan player from chelsea like lukaku . Of course it is not fair compare maldini that still green or new in this job with veteran like marotta , but he can learn from marotta how to sign player that fit with coach style in low budget not sign player without coordination with coach and ended that player hard to fit on coach system formation

  5. Kalian yang menghina Maldini tidak pantas menjadi fans Milan..Dimana posisi Milan sebelum Maldini? Bertahun absen dari UCL. 200 juta dihabiskan Yohong Li dan tidak menghasilkan apa pun..Siapa membawa Theo? Maignan? Tonali?..Siapa yang mempertaruhkan jabatannya demi Pioli??
    Lihat Chelsea dengan sederet pemain mahalnya, dimana posisi mereka sekarang?
    Scudeto dan Semifinal UCL adalah pekerjaan yang hebat untuk sebuah tim muda yang MINIM PENGALAMAN..Jika kalian fans Milan, maka tidak akan memaki Maldini dan berterima kasih untuknya

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