No lie, I woke up at 5am yesterday morning (not of my own choosing,) and decided to look at the news, knowing Gomez was taking his medicals today. But what I saw was the preliminary agreement for the sale of the club had finally been signed, and it was a very pleasant surprise (especially at that hour.) Like everything else, I tend to take these things with a grain of salt. And reading through the agreement, I had a lot of questions. But I also couldn’t help believe that it was finally going to happen. And even if some of it is much later than many of us wanted, the whole day yesterday was a day of cautious elation.
|Past and future?|
Okay, let’s get straight into my concerns about the sale. Firstly, this Sino-Europe Investment Management Changxing is a splinter group from the original group. Splinters are usually not good. There could be backlash, legal backlash, even, particularly given that the original mediator, etc. did not seem to be involved in this deal. Then there are the numbers. The end numbers all look good: €740m for the club, €220m for the debts, and €350m invested over the next three years. Now I’m no expert on these things, but did you read the part about the deposit? They are requiring a €100m deposit. That’s about 10% of the deal. Yet only €15m (or 1.5% of the purchase price) was due at signing, with the other €85m due within 35 days. Not even 2% down? Who gets to do that? That scares the hell out of me, because it sounds a lot like they don’t have the money. Meaning all of this celebration could end up being in vain. Hoping my Spidey senses are tingling about something else.
Second, who will be the CEO(s??) Will Berlusconi stay on? Will Galliani stay on? If so, in what capacities? La Gazzetta dello Sport is claiming that former Inter director Marco Fassone will be in charge after the deal closes. But how many times did they claim that Robin Li was the head of the consortium? Or others? This is all so new, I am not sure if anyone knows anything yet, even the most reliable sources are trying to make up for getting it wrong (Fosun Group) as recently as this morning, even causing Fininvest to make an official statement denying those negotiations ahead of announcing the sale. So those are some very big questions yet to be answered before the sale closes by the end of this year.
|Maybe the new Han will be able to purchase what our Chewie needs: a creative midfielder|
Then there is the mercato. People posting starting elevens already with crazy names of players that may even be out of reach once we see the investments. But the thing is, if you read the agreement, the first €100m of investment money is not due until closing. They literally can’t even post the €100m deposit up front. So it doesn’t seem like they’ll be chipping in at all to this mercato. That means anything that happens in this transfer window is on Fininvest, Berlusconi, and Galliani. The first two have said they will not be investing (although we can hope they change their tune now that there is actually an agreement.) The third is generally impotent in the transfer market anymore, especially when it comes to getting rid of his horrible deals like Matri, or even loaning those players out successfully. But at this point, we desperately need to sell some players. Bacca and De Sciglio have been in demand and would likely bring in decent sums if we were able to turn around and re-invest in the midfield, for example. But having done the U.S. tour without either of them and seeing the team without those two players, Montella has suddenly become very fond of both of them. So basically, I’m saying our mercato prospects are still quite slim, and we should be grateful to have signed Vangioni, Lapadula, and Gomez (all of whom have yet to be seen for Milan.)
|Guy just looks tough. Hoping he's the center back of our dreams.|
Speaking of Gustavo Gomez, I’m mildly excited about him. If he’s as good as he looks on paper, he might just be the center back we’ve been needing so desperately. The 23 year-old Paraguayan has been playing in the Argentine league, so whether or not he will do well in Italy remains to be seen. At Lanus, he was the defender with the most passes attempted in the league last year (according to @OptaPaolo.) And certainly they had an amazing defensive record with him on the pitch, too. Plus, reports say he will wear the number 15 to honor an ex-Lanus teammate who died in a car accident last year. How can you not love that heart? As the first Paraguayan to wear the Milan shirt, he’ll have something to prove. And if he’s as tough as he looks, combined with Romagnoli, we will have a thug center back pairing that may give opposition players more than just nightmares.
But the one thing we can all agree to be elated about is Inter’s demise. They have not won a single friendly this summer under the amazing Roberto Mancini. With all of their expensive and talented players, not even one friendly against a lower division side. So it filled me with a particularly joyful schadenfreude yesterday when they lost to Tottenham 6-1. Losing is really the only thing they do spectacularly, and that was a spectacular loss. Even with a new coach and a midfield featuring Montolivo and Poli, Milan beat Bordeaux and then beat Bayern on penalties. So if all else fails, the deal somehow goes south, and Gomez can’t handle Serie A, we always know that our filthy, sleazy, rotten, depraved, cheating city rivals will give us something to smile about.
|My daughter's artwork perfectly captures the Milan schadenfreude|
For now, hope is strong with us. And not just because one of the buyers is called Han, which is just a great name. No, we have hope because Berlusconi apparently actually signed something after so much talk. We have hope because that preliminary agreement is legally binding internationally. So if there are any problems, they will at least be penalized for breaking any part of the deal. And even if we may not get much more from this mercato, if we can weather the first half of the season, then we can look forward to a lot of cash to be splashed in January. I’m not going to make any rash predictions because there is so much in the air, but I do feel like within a year or two it may not be considered child abuse to show my kids the Milan games. That maybe with some luck down the road, their kids won’t even know about this past four years of hell Milan fans have endured. Maybe things will change for the better, maybe even long term. Or maybe not. But at least I have a sense of cautious elation. Oh, and Inter for entertainment.
This post inspired by the music of Panic at the Disco’s “Victorious”
Our next match will be a friendly
Freiburg vs. Milan
Sunday, August 14th 16:30 CEST (10:30am EDT)
at Schwarzwald-Stadion, Freiburg, Germany