Will Milan Become Arsenal Italia?

When Gazidis was hired as CEO of Milan, people feared the worst. If current reports become reality, it might actually be even worse than that. The rumors that Maldini will leave the club, making room for Rangnick, mean that there will be nothing left of the Milan that we have known and loved. Worse still, the proposed project looks to re-create the Arsenal model at Milan, with even less money and likely worse football. Will Milan become Arsenal Italia?

Power, Money, Destruction. In that order.

Elliott Management have said from day one that they want to “return Milan to its glory,” and that they would maintain the club’s identity. To that end, Leonardo convinced Paolo Maldini to join their project. Then Leonardo left. Boban left his job at FIFA, but then he was fired. And now Maldini could leave the club, too, despite saying just a couple of weeks ago that “he never thought of leaving.”

What began as “at least a three-year project” has become yet another unstable, revolving door project in terms of management. The one beacon of hope for Milan fans was Maldini. His ability to influence players to come to Milan, grow with Milan, honor the crest, and then win with Milan, all on low wages, was the one thing that has been working at the club. He and Boban together cut €25 million from the wage bill last summer and again in January, reducing squad size while improving the squad. As rumors of yet another turnover began, the importance of keeping Maldini became even more apparent.

Maldini is the only thing standing in his way...

But why would we change the technical sector again? After Gazidis blocked Ibrahimovic in January of 2019, Milan missed the Champions League by one point. Milan missed not just the prestige, but also the money. Differences in management also caused Gattuso to leave by mutual consent at the end of the season.

Maldini and Boban were much criticized for the hiring of Giampaolo, yet had Ibrahimovic and possibly another more experienced player or two been in the squad for that transition, things may have turned out quite differently. In fact, Gattuso may not have left had Gazidis not blocked even that one player. Ibrahimovic returning this January proved that Maldini was right all along, and now Gazidis looks set to push him out, too. Maldini potentially  leaving starts a domino effect of players leaving, because his influence would be gone as well.

"Welcome to Arsenal, now if you'll excuse me, I need to get out before people realize what I've done"

None of this makes any sense for Elliott. Every change in the technical sector sets any potential profit back yet another year. Maldini and Boban have done more to impact the bottom line of the club than Gazidis has, and that is his job. Not to mention that they were doing their job at improving the football. Gazidis is actually creating bigger losses than Yonghong Li, making selling Milan for a profit less and less realistic every day.

What has Gazidis done? He posted the club’s highest ever losses last summer, after spending to paint Milanello, changing everything at the club to English, and commissioning an app. Don’t forget the concentric oval logo that some designer with a Spirograph was undoubtedly overpaid to create. After actually losing sponsors in his first 15 months, a couple of new sponsors have finally been brought in. COVID-19 has very likely saved Gazidis the embarrassment of what would have undoubtedly been further losses this year before the virus hit.

The power struggle was real. The profits really weren't.

Gazidis wants to impose a €2.5 million salary cap for the players, while drawing a €4 million per year salary for himself. (Maldini’s salary is €1.8 million.) Gazidis was similarly overpaid at Arsenal. The myth that although the football under his watch was terrible at Arsenal, “at least he made money,” is actually false. He left the club in worse financial shape than he found it, in spite of being paid €3 million per year.

After wrestling with Arsene Wenger for power and control at Arsenal for so many years, Wenger was finally pushed out. Gazidis had spoken out about one person being responsible for the technical sector and managing the team. Yet initial rumors claim that Rangnick was set to repeat this model. The one that didn’t work at Arsenal. The developing of young players and selling them for a profit worked to a certain level, but in hindsight, that profit probably went to pay Gazidis’ salary.

Power and control freak by his own admission

Newer rumors link Rangnick with Maldini’s job, as technical director, while the German wants to hire a buddy who has never worked in Serie A as coach. Despite Maldini publicly berating Rangnick last week for being disrespectful to Pioli and the players who are still trying to finish the season by giving interviews about Milan’s interest in him, the media now have the Rangnick move down to tiny details. Rangnick is infamous for finding and developing young talent, but never winning a full season or a Champions League or even Europa League in a top flight. The same people who last year argued that Giampaolo was the next Arrigo Sacchi are now looking to Rangnick as some kind of savior for Milan.

Should any of this diabolical and unbelievable plan come to fruition, it will not be just another Year Zero. This plan effectively removes all of the history, style, elegance, class, and… Milan out of Milan. The passion and DNA of playing in the Champions League would be gone, replaced with Gazidis’ football version of human trafficking. The colors and crest would be just like any other logo, a front for a false money-making scheme in which Gazidis would be the only one to actually pocket any money.

Has the old vulture been out-foxed by Gazidis?

People were worried about Elliott Management taking over Milan. But at least they have paid the bills. Although their reputation as a vulture fund goes much further than cleaning the financial carcasses of the entities they “rescue,” they may have met their match in Gazidis. He seems hell-bent on destroying every last piece of Milan, under the pretense of creating a profit. At the end of the day, he has cost Elliott millions thus far, has fired one Milan legend and looks to be forcing out a second. All the while taking the exquisite club we love and trying to turn it into Arsenal Italia.

This post inspired by the music of Rammstein’s “Bück dich”

Will Milan Become Arsenal Italia? Will Milan Become Arsenal Italia? Reviewed by Elaine on 2:06 AM Rating: 5
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