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Fool's Gold

Having been fooled again and again by the Mr. Bee debacle, there has been a little bit of reluctance for some to believe that this new deal with this new consortium would actually go through. And maybe it was the distraction of the Euros or the reality of Berlusconi’s heart surgery, but a lot of people were waiting quietly for any tangible news on the deal. That tangible news came yesterday as Berlusconi was released from the hospital and confirmed that he had decided to sell a majority of the club to this consortium. And as he complained about not getting as much money for the club as he had wanted, he also mentioned that the agreement included a guarantee that the group would invest €400m in the club in the next two to three years. And that was all that social media needed to explode with unrealistic dreams and expectations once again. Like fool’s gold.

Montella admires the hardware of true golden eras gone by

Pyrite is a mineral also known as “fool’s gold.” It is gold and shiny metallic in appearance, and the untrained eye can easily mistake it for the valuable metal. But it is worth about .0006 the value of actual gold. As a young girl growing up in the desert, we loved to race to the washes after a rain storm, as there would be flecks of shiny gold pyrite everywhere on top of the mud, and we would pretend to be pirates or gold miners and gather as much as we could. But we would come home tired and with the worthless flecks still shining amongst the mud all over us, our fortunes were exactly the same as before.

This whole saga of the hunt for a new owner for Milan reminds me of our vain attempts to mine for gold in the middle of the desert. People hear transfer rumors, rumors about the sale, and much like my childhood friends and I, race enthusiastically to conclusions. And all of these enticing ideas have ended up being equally fruitless, leaving us all tired and disappointed.

Nicholas Gencikoff, widely rumored to be handed the CEO position if the deal goes through

Last summer, Berlusconi spent €90m on the mercato, and certainly a few of those purchases helped us out somewhat. But then he inexplicably destroyed all hope by firing our coach before the end of the season. It seems like every hope and dream Milan fans have had these past four years have been like the shiny flecks of pyrite, floating to the surface instead of remaining in the bottom of the pan like actual gold.

But this new plan, with an agreement that could be signed within days, is once again luring in our hopes and dreams. With the sheer amount of cash, the probability of a new (and single) CEO, the freedom we have from FFP restrictions because of the sale, and the opportunities of expanding such a vast market in Asia, it kind of seems like we struck gold. But only time will tell if it is the real deal or not. Certainly, the first step is to ensure the deal actually goes through. And although it will take some time, the restructuring of the management and board of directors could very much change things one way or the other.

Will Dr. Evil change his ways?

One big factor is whether or not they allow Galliani to continue to have carte blanche on the transfer windows. He has proven time and time again, both with and without money, that his judgment is poor and his scouting support is incredibly limited and shortsighted. In fact, it could be he and he alone that makes or breaks this potential new era for Milan. If he continues on his own, even with airplanes full of money to spend, Milan could still wind up in a similar situation to these past four years. But if he is given a system of checks and balances and better scouts (like he had when Milan were great before,) we could definitely be on the fast track back to success.

How many of the details that are emerging are real, and how many of them are more like pyrite instead of gold remains to be seen. But the bigger question is not the ginormous amount of cash that will be invested, but rather how that cash will be invested. Regardless of how many of the transfer targets you have personally fangirled over actually come, or how many of the dream starting lineups you’ve shared on social media come true, it could all be for naught if the money is not spent wisely or the management issues do not get resolved. The truth is, €400m sounds like solid gold, but if left in the wrong hands, could be just as fruitless and disappointing as fool’s gold.

This post inspired by the music of Fitz & the Tantrum’s “Fool’s Gold”

Stay tuned in the comments section for coverage of Raduno - the return of the team to Milanello, rally of the fans, and first official training of the new season tomorrow, July 7th.