Red Bull gives you wings: A shining example for Milan to follow in pursuit of a modern academy

By Rohit Rajeev -

One area that AC Milan could see a lot of investment in if Investcorp do complete the purchase of the club is the infrastructure of the youth sector.

Rumours are rife suggesting that the Bahrain-based fund are set to buy Milan from Elliott Management, and that has obviously generated a lot of subsequent speculation regarding the amount of money they will pump in and where it will be directed.

Interestingly, MilanNews reported yesterday that in addition to making money available for the improvement of the team, the construction of the new stadium and the promotion of the club’s brand around the world, they have longer-term plans.

The report stressed Investcorp’s will to spend on strengthening of the infrastructure linked to the youth sector such as Milanello, the Vismara training centre and Milan Lab, all of which are facilities that are far behind that of Europe’s elite and similar set-ups in North America. We take a look at some steps to trace…

An example to follow

When Red Bull took over SV Austria Salzburg in 2005, they knew they could not spend the money like how big guns in Europe could spend. So they focused on producing academy products, and this resulted them in building world class facilities for youth and senior team development.

Ever since the inauguration of their facilities in 2014, they won the UEFA Youth Cup in 2017 and have seen some incredible talent come through their gates and leave, such as Haaland, Szoboszlai, Sabitzer, Naby Keita, Upamecano and more.

The athletics room: The athletics room is to test the speed of the players at various levels of resistance and pressure. A sort of belt is fitted to the player’s waist with a electrical cord which sends data to computers and a programmer analyses the speed of the runs at various pressure situations which can be maximised or minimised via the computer.

It helps the analyst and the player to under what stress conditions he is able to hit top speed. Speed and endurance are important aspects that are required for the Salzburg’s style of play.

Hi-tech gymnasium: Players need gymnasium’s to keep up their fitness but different bodies have different requirements. Each member of the squad is analysed via motion sensors and before entering the gym the player has to log into the tablet and download the program designed for them.

Red Bull Academy: Building footballers of the futureAnti-gravity running track: In a contact sport like football, injuries are part of the game and a team must be prepared for them, as Milan well know this season. The anti-gravity running track helps players recover faster from their injuries. This was originally used for astronauts to keep up their fitness now it is used to help athletes recover.

Red Bull Academy: Building footballers of the future

Soccerbot: Due to its circular nature, the ball bounces back from the panel to the player waiting in the centre. The structure is equipped with motion sensors and high speed cameras. This helps the coach and his training staff to collect data regarding the player.

They allow them to understand which foot the player used to complete the training assignment. The inbuilt system analyses the processing time the and ball controlling foot. Some of the drills inside the Soccerbot include ‘Find and hit the shown target’ or ‘Hit as fast as possible’.

Red Bull Academy: Building footballers of the future

LPM indoor: An LPM system collects positional data of players inside the football hall. The motion sensors are accurate to 5-10 centimetres and are stationed at 8 different locations. The system also gives passing accuracy, touches taken and the amount of time in possession of the ball.


Simply put, this is not just a problem that Milan are facing currently but rather the majority of Italian football. In general, Italy are guilty of falling behind other countries in their methods which means they are not producing enough talents of the same level.

Salzburg have paved the way to hone modern players with modern techniques through cutting edge methods and maximising the potential of each through very personalised analysis and help.

It’s not just players that Red Bull Salzburg have brought through because they also have some interesting current coaches like Marco Rose and Jesse Marsch. Of course, Red Bull are a very large enterprise economically and it took a large investment, but it pays off in the long run and that is something Investcorp seem to be looking for.

While the modus operandi of funds is generally to raise the value of an asset and sell on, Investcorp seem serious about having a long-lasting and strongly felt impact in the club for the medium and longer term, and this is one way to ensure a legacy.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Red Bull did not (just) take over SV Austria Salzburg they destroyed it. Got rid of the name, the colors, the legacy. They assembled an all star team (at least in Austrian terms) outspending the nearest competition multiple times. The early Red Bull years were in my opinion strongly influenced by Bayern Munich with the lub employing similar tactics (i.e. just buying up the top talent of the competition).
    The current state of the project mostly took off when they established ownership (or a controlling influence) over multiple clubs and thus a development pipeline ranging from the Austrian second league (Liefering) via the top Austrian league (Salzburg) to the German Bundesliga (Leipzig). In my opinion that’s the actual backbone of the Red Bull project.

  2. Anyway, we need these technology/improvement. Some bright talents which are under 19 years old prefer to go to Salzburg because of that. It will definitely improve the quality of our home grown players and will be smart investment in the long term. I was wondering how Elliott miss to invest in this technologies and also in the medical lab which IMO is mediocre. Last season injures cost as the title, maybe this season again.

  3. I have allways been a great fan of clubs developing their own talents and i will allways support a great investment in that speciffic area but i do believe that we should have an u23 team in the lower leagues as juventus have as we would be in control of how our players are utilized and trained when they are still very young and still would be a in a position to play matches now and then in serie c to gain experience compared to getting benched at some random club that just looks for depth for their squads. Then our talents will be both more prepared for loans in both serie b and serie a to further their developement.

  4. Fascinating article. Hope Investcorp follows this model. New stadium, new players, new training and development…FINALLY what we all have waited for! Exciting times!

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