Football

Published on August 8th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta

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Milan make biggest of gambles in bid to rejoin Europe’s elite table

If the multimillion dollar investment by AC Milan on new players pays off, the future is good for the Serie A side. The problem is the gamble going wrong

Around $200 million spent in just a single transfer window. Something like this at AC Milan hasn’t happened in a while, at least a decade, when the Berlusconi family used to invest hugely in the club, before deciding to change their approach and eventually sell the institution. The new owner, Yonghong Li, has had to borrow money from American fund Elliot to buy the club, so many people wonder how he is even able to afford new players.

It’s a big gamble, of course. His plan – this is no secret – is to invest the money now in order to fly back straight into the Champions League, get the money from there, and enter a virtuous cycle that could see Milan support itself for the upcoming seasons. In the next two years he will also try and find other investors, to guarantee more funds and see the club grow further.

The suspicions for many remain nonetheless, especially after the delay for the bank guarantee in order to pay for Lucas Biglia and Leonardo Bonucci from Lazio and Juventus respectively. This has lead to a revamp of doubts over the ownership group, even though the problem was eventually solved. The lack of knowledge of the identity of the investors behind Li is putting Milan in a slightly shadowy position, waiting to see what will come of the club over the next two seasons.

Not returning to the Champions League would mean not reaching that income necessary to repay Elliot and create that ever-growing cycle. The gamble would be lost in that case. But for the moment, everything is great for Milan fans.

Ten new faces have been brought in, and all are interesting players to say the least, with the inclusion of some absolute stars, Bonucci being the clear leader. For a man who is now probably the best defender in the world to accept an offer, it seems like a decent guarantee on the money being there.

It could go very badly of course in the worst case scenario, but there are solutions even if Milan don’t enter the Champions League circle and don’t make any cash. Elliot would be given the club, with many assets in players that are worth millions, and will be for a while. Bonucci or Franck Kessie or Andre Silva are all players who will not lose their value drastically for at least a couple seasons.

With these premises, Milan are in a situation in which matters either go well on the pitch, and also economically, or the club becomes a money machine to repay the debt, and back to square one. But for it to go bankrupt it would take much more.

Li has made his gamble, now – as always in football – it will be what happens on the pitch pitch to tell us what will happen. Milan finishing in a top-four spot and snatching a Champions League place would be the best outcome.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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