Report: Milan lagging behind rivals in profit from player sales – the figures

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan have certainly turned a corner financially since Elliott Management took over the club and started focusing on a sustainable model. However, there is one area that the Rossoneri could benefit from improving. 

Elliott Management, while they are no longer the owners of Milan, have been incredibly important for the success journey and the hope is that Gerry Cardinale can build on this. Certainly, the Rossoneri are showing that football most likely can be made sustainable.

The Swiss Ramble has made a very elaborate breakdown of Milan’s finances from the past fiscal year (2021/22) and compared to their rivals, they have significantly less in losses (€60m). The likes of Inter and Juve, meanwhile, have €137m and €237m in losses.

There is one area, however, in which Milan are lagging behind: capital gains and player sales. The Rossoneri haven’t exactly made many big sales in recent time and that was further hurt by the free exits of Calhanoglu, Donnarumma and Kessie.

As highlighted by the report, Milan average just €12m profit a year on player sales since 2013. Over the last five years, up until 2021, the Rossoneri made a profit of just €80m on player sales compared to Juventus at €557m, Napoli at €361m and Roma at €296m.

Now, Juventus might not be the best of examples as they have grossly overvalued some of their players to increase the capital gain. Still, it’s clear Milan can do better especially if you consider the talent they have procured lately.

On the other hand, few sales isn’t necessarily a bad situation as it often means the club keeps hold of the important players.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Few sales doesn’t mean that the club keeps hold of the most important players. It just means that they let them leave for free.
    And people come here and call the owners cheap and broke while at the same time they defend the sporting director.
    Napoli sold players worth 361 mil over the last 5 years, Roma 296 mil. Milan 80 mil, but it’s the owner who is getting blamed.
    Teams finance their mercatos with the money they get from sales except Paolo Maldini who like a kid waits on his parents to give him the money to buy the stuff he needs instead of earning money on his own.

  2. Look at the list of players that Maldini spent money on that can’t even get on the pitch even when there are injuries. Ballo-Toure, Bakayoko, Adli, Vrankx, Thiaw. Pobega is a weak back-up at MF. Add in the terrible CDK and Origi signings, the fact that we haven’t had a real starting quality RW in years, they let their best talent leave for free( Kessie, Calhanaglu, Donnarumma ) and you start to realize that Maldini is over his head. The overall strength of the squad has gotten weaker each of the last 2 years. There is no quality depth anywhere on this team and if you think they are going to improve that over the winter then you haven’t been paying attention to this team the last 3 years.

  3. Wow, lagging is an understatement.
    But who are the players that Napoli and Roma have sold over the last 5 years that brought them that much money? It has to be over 5 years since the big money sales of Salah, Allison and Higuain.
    Juventus numbers are fake anyways

    1. Napoli’s number also counts the sale of Cavani to PSG and Jorginho to Chelsea. It’s a bit deceiving because Higuain was bought with the Cavani money etc but it just counts every sale in this figure.

  4. We can’t blame milan not getting enough profit for removing golddiggers like dollaruma and snakes like chalalolu. Unfortunate about kessie but hopefully he will get back in the future.

    1. Oh yes, you can. Like citizens, must obey state laws, and players must respect the club. You put a time frame for responding on contract extension if they don’t accept sell them, and put on bench if don’t accept offer from the second team. There must be special clause in the contract.

  5. It is not so important whether you lag in revenue from player sale. On the sheet, Elliott let go players for free only to cut losses, and show positive management in the books. That’s how you sale the company. Still I think AC is lagging against Juventus on commercial area revenue, too far.
    In the same time: let’s Just compare revenue on player sale: Juventus sold De Ligt, and several others good players, for Bremer and Vlahovic. They lost all money from CL, even they invested all money from sold players. So there is no point to sell best players. Like, tomorrow for Milan to sell Leao, you can’t buy more competitive players, than best players in the team.
    Milan must gain revenue, to give best players salary more than 15 mil net. In the same time, – cut loses on other expenses.
    Real Madrid gave 278 million gross for players salary, and revenue 769 million. Thats 35 % of revenue. Ac has 82 million for 297 revenue, that’s 28% of revenue. You can’t pay small fee for best worker. Best player, put on higher costs, and cut on other hands. And, if you have unhappy player, or players like Origi, or Rebic -sell them. And gain profit from player sale. Invest that in worker who wants to work.

  6. Hahaah of course we are behind here. We don’t sell anyone. We just let them leave for free. Rebic had value last year and the writing was on the wall yet we kept him this year… great choice obviously..

    Now Leao is not renewing and doesn’t look likely to and yet new reports say we don’t want to sell because we believe he will renew. Literally same story as Kessie and Gigio.

    Lastly, we are 500k away from Bennacer renewal yet it’s not done yet.. fantastic.

  7. That Milan lost two high value assets is irrelevant to the low return from player sales, add on a €100 million and we’re still behind our rivals and we’re behind our rivals because we weren’t competitive for 10 years.

    All big clubs are losing players on free transfers – Juve lost Dybala, Bayern lost Alaba and Chelsea lost Christiansen and Rudiger, Man United lost Pogba. Depay and Skriniar are in the last 6 months of their contracts. Clubs far wealthier than us lose players so why would you expect things to be different? Of course players refuse to extend or be sold, they collect massive signing on bonuses if they join on free transfers.

    1. Clubs far wealthier than us can afford to lose players for free, Milan can’t.
      That’s why Milan should act with players like smaller clubs do. If the player hasn’t signed an extension with 2 years left on his contract, he should be put on the market and sold while Milan still has the upper hand and the leverage.
      You let the player know that he won’t be a starter anymore since he isn’t in the club plans for the future, and he will be relegated to just being a part-time bench player.
      No player of value, who is actually wanted by other clubs, who gets offered higher salary from other
      clubs, like in the case of Giggio, Kessie and even Hakan, will wanna sit on the bench for 2 years.
      The previous 5 years prior to 2018, Milan didn’t sell many players because no one wants to buy trash. If you go back and look at the names of the players during that time, you will get nauseous.
      ManUtd losing Pogba for free didn’t change anything for them. They still went out and spent over 200 mil this past summer.
      The same goes for Chelsea and Bayern.
      We desperately needed that 100+ mil from the potential sales of those 3,4 players, to properly replace them and to address other needs in the squad, like a
      proper RW, or a striker, or quality depth.
      Without that money we haven’t been able to properly replace those lost starters nor we have been able to address the already existing needs.
      That’s why we should expect things to be different for Milan when it comes to losing players on a free transfer.

    2. You listed 1 maybe 2 per club
      We have lost 4… And maybe 6 after this season if Bennacer and Leao don’t renew. It’s a joke. And it’s incompetent.

  8. If we sold these players you mentioned leaving for free we would not be playing champions league or have won the scudetto. Sometimes you need to accept your losses to make gains in areas you consider more important… champions league qualification and finishing high enough on the table to create sponsorship revenue.

    Don’t be so naive

    1. People were saying that if Milan sold Gigio and Hakan a year or so earlier, they wouldn’t have made it to the UCL. Gigio and Hakan left for free, and MIlan not only went back to the UCL, but they also won the scudetto.
      If you get 60-70mil for Gigio and you buy Maignan for 15 , you get just as good of a GK if not better, and you still have around 50 mil to strengthen the rest of the squad. The same goes for Hakan if you sold him for 20-25.
      If you lose starters every year for free instead of selling them soon you won’t be able to qualify for the UCL because you are weakening the squad and you don’t bring equal quality replacements because you don’t have the money to buy them.
      You don’t make it to the UCL the marketing and sponsorship revenue goes down too.
      It all goes hand in hand. You suffer losses in the market that will show on the field, and then that will reflect your budget.
      Has Kessie been properly replaced? Nope, because Milan doesn’t have the money even though they received money for winning the scudetto and making it back to UCL.
      Have Milan properly replaced Hakan? Nope, even though Milan received money from making it back to UCL. And yes no matter how much some people despise Hakan, none of Brahim, Krunic or even now CDK has been able to match his inconsistent production at Milan .
      We should stop looking for excuses and make up stories. It’s inexcusable to lose not 1 but 4 starters for free in 12 months.
      It’s inexcusable for that to happen under any sporting director watch, even if his name is Paolo Maldini

      1. As usual, your arguments are nonsense. Who came in with a big money offer for Hakan? That’s right, no one. The only players who would have commanded large fees were Kessie and Donnarumma. Add 100 million and we would still lag far behind our rivals €180 million v Juventus at €557m, Napoli at €361m and Roma at €296m. What you fail to mention of course, because you’re a hypocrite, is that Maldini and Massara signed Tonali (€14.50m), Maignan (€15.30m), Giroud (€2m) and Kalulu (€1.29m) for peanuts. They also convinced Elliot to stick with Pioli – Elliot wanted Rangnick. There’s a reason Maldini won an award for the best football director. The only award you’ll win is hater of the year and worst poster. Try making a valid point.

        1. Maldini and Massara didn’t convince anyone to keep Pioli.
          Pioli miracles with the squad after the covid break It’s what saved Paolo Maldini job.
          You forget that Gazidis was getting ready to fire everyone because of the mess created by Maldini’s pick for coach in Giampaolo .
          Also, here is a valid point for you.
          Why did Elliott and Gazidis didn’t extend Paolo Maldinis contract but they allowed it to expire so he had to go to the media and cry for extention?
          Then it took a month of negotiations to give him a new contract with the new owner.
          And BTW the new owners gave the sporting director of the year only a 2 year contract.
          And what point are you trying to make with “even if he sold Kessie and Donnarumma for 100 mil we’ll still be behind our rivals in sales”.
          Because €100 million is a 100 million times more than ZERO
          You also forget to mention because you are a hypocrite that Maldini signed Ballo Toure , Bakayoko, players that Pioli wouldn’t use even if he has to play with a man down.Florenzi, Dest, Messias, Origi, mandzukic, and the big money signing of CDK.
          For every 1 good move, there are 2 bad ones.

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