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The Wage Bill Rises


Milanello has a hero, it is the almighty Euro. You see, whenever a player sustains a long term injury during the transfer market, all  the doctors at Milan Lab have to do is go to the top of the roof and flip on the Euro Signal™. The Euro Signal™ tells Galliani that a player is down, and then he can jump into his mercato mobile and fight injuries the only way he knows how: by buying new players. And so instead of our squad shrinking, it grows, teeming like the criminals on the streets of Gotham City. And thus, The Wage Bill Rises.

The call for reinforcements? Or the call to continue irresponsible spending? 
This summer, when Bonera broke his knee cap and was expected to be out about 90 days (if I am remembering correctly,) Galliani raced into action, cape flying, and BOOM! Within about 48 hours or less, Silvestre was signed on loan as a replacement. The first defender to come to mind. I didn’t complain much, because I viewed Silvestre as an improvement to Bonera, and everyone wanted a new defender anyway. And what was only one more player on our wage bill? Plus, it was a loan, no long term contract or commitment. Which is good, because Silvestre is 28, and the last thing we needed to do was give an older player a long-term contract. You know, like we did in January.

In January, contradicting every last thing that Galliani and Berlusconi and the board and Allegri had been telling us, we signed 31 year-old Zaccardo on a 3.5 year contract. He was not young, he was not quality, and they completely disregarded the “players over 30 will only be renewed for 1 year at a time” rule they had invoked a couple of years ago. I read somewhere that we were forced to take over the terms of his contract at Parma, which at least offers some kind of reasoning for doing something so ridiculous. But were we forced to take him on? No. This deal smelled suspiciously of the old Milan, who invested in expensive, long-term contracts with older, established players. And this one wasn’t even of that caliber.

Bonera 2.0: younger, more talented, but only on loan

So when it was reported yesterday that Gabriel’s shoulder injury from the Audi Cup was more severe than originally thought, the Euro Signal™ was switched on, and without even thinking, Galliani went straight to former Milan backup keeper Ferdinando Coppola. You know, the 35 year-old former Milan keeper who never made any official appearances for the club, but rather spent most of his time out on loan? Because when you have a talented, up and coming 20 year-old goalkeeper who gets injured, you should absolutely replace him with a geriatric never-was keeper.

Even better, Milan seemed close to a deal with Torino for Amelia, which would have been a great move for both clubs in my opinion. Ideally, we would have replaced Amelia with a 25-28 year-old keeper who was experienced, but not overpriced, that could have helped bridge the experience gap between our 20 year-old Gabriel and our 36 year-old Abbiati. But that ship sailed when MilanLab fired up the Euro Signal™. Amelia is staying. And now we will have a trio of geriatric keepers and an injured rising star. Who knows how Gabriel will return after this injury?

Not sure if football keeper or baseball catcher, but he certainly isn't young

Now, I am not an complete idiot. I know full well that keepers are like fine wine, they improve with age. But at some point, when their bottles have been open too long, they do lose their quality. Then there are those, like Coppola and Amelia, who would be better compared to that stuff that comes in boxes. We need more quality and experience amongst our keepers. And I mean plenty of Serie A experience, not Serie B like Coppola has. Not just buying the oldest, most available keeper that comes to mind when one is injured. Because if our commitment truly is to youth and sustainability, wouldn’t it make sense to wait and find out just how serious Gabriel’s injury is before buying? And maybe giving one of our youth keepers a chance? Or, heaven forbid, investing in a decent keeper that has some experience, but isn’t so long in the tooth?

But the biggest question is, what happened to our “plan?” The commitment to younger players? The reducing of squad size? The all new sustainability report that made us believe there was a plan in the first place? Why have we gone back to our old ways, of panic buys to replace injured players, instead of turning to our young players like we were told would happen? And if we must go out and buy “established” players, can’t we at least buy some who are also talented?

Maybe our spending superhero is actually more chaos-inducing supervillain?
(photoshop inspired by Pete Acquaviva)

Just when I was believing in the changes, believing in management’s methods, trusting that Milan was heading for FFP compliance and sustainability, Galliani goes back to the old ways. Which begs the question, is he a superhero? Or a supervillain? Is he taking advantage of seeing the Euro Signal™, only to wreak chaos on what seemed to be a calmer, more functional Milanello? All I know is that whatever his motives are, there is never a happy ending when The Wage Bill Rises.


This post inspired by the music of Rammstein


Our next match is
Champions League Qualifying Round, First Leg
PSV Eindhoven vs. AC Milan
Tuesday, August 20 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)