Losing Hauge

The mercato does strange things to the fans. They forget players, performances, and even facts surrounding transfers in order to come to terms with reality. During the season, Hauge was a Milan fan favorite. But after months of the press linking him away, that affection turned to justification of his move. That justification came about because of false facts propagated through the media and social media. People who previously loved Hauge and did not want him to leave are now saying this is a "good deal" or a"huge profit." Lost in their misinformation and attempts to justify this move is the fact that we are losing Hauge.

When it comes to the Northern Lights, don't forget to look up

Let's set a few things straight. Milan paid almost €5 million for Jens Petter Hauge in October. Media outlets are reporting the amount lower now to make this deal look better, but it's not true. The move to Eintracht Frankfurt is a loan. Milan fans say that it includes an obligation to buy for €12 million, whereas Eintracht Frankfurt say that it is an option. Because the deal is that they have the option to buy for €12 million, with the obligation if certain criteria are met. Even the official Milan statement regarding his transfer indicates as much.

Always read the fine print

Many fans are excited that this is a "huge" profit or massive plus valenza, because we more than doubled what we paid for him in a year. If Eintracht Frankfurt do meet the criteria and take up their option or obligation to buy, then Milan will have doubled his value, that is true. But we won't see a penny of that for another year, which makes it doubling a €5 million purchase over two years time a little less exciting. Also, doubling an investment of €5 million is not going to balance the books. We need to be more like Atalanta, who bought Cristian Romero for €18 million and after only a year sold him for €55 million. That is a huge profit.

Goal, 2 Celtic players down. Perfectly done, JPH

Because Milan has had such a difficult time making money from the sale of their players for decades, between their terrible management of the youth system, Galliani's free transfers, or the most recent debacle of letting not one, but two Donnarummas and a Calhanoglu leave on a free transfer, I guess that Milan fans are excited to make a profit. On one player. Do the math, though. The amount we lost this year on potential profit makes the future projected profit of €7 million from Hauge pale in comparison. This move was not about the money, as it was clearing another spot in the squad, anyway. 

Imagine, for example that Hauge had been allowed to play in the knockout rounds of the Europa League. He would have gone in as the Europa League's top scorer, with six goals and three assists. The final top scorer this year only had seven goals, and two of those were penalties. As I predicted, naming Mandzukic to the team instead worked out very poorly because he was injured after one match, and we could have really Hauge in those other games with so many players missing. Now imagine if Hauge had finished as top scorer, and perhaps Milan would have gone farther? If you are on the side of selling, that would have driven up his price. If you are on the side of having kept him, that would have only helped Milan's successes on the pitch.

Scores a goal, then benched. What happened?

What is truly lost in this conversation is the player himself, his potential, and the value he could have brought to the team now and in the future. The whole reason we bought him was because he had 19 goals in 22 matches for Bodø/Glimt. A loan with a buyback option or at least a percentage of sell on could possibly justify the loss of his talent, but for me, this is not a great deal at all. One of the most difficult things that members of the technical area have to do is weigh out potential talent with possible financial profits. Is the value of the player more to the team on the pitch? Or is the player more valuable to the club's bottom line? The gamble is bigger with younger players, but Milan are notoriously bad at this part, something it seems the club is trying to change with this move. But did they get it right?

It would appear that somewhere along the line, he lost favor with Pioli. Not just his exclusion from the Europa League list, but even playing time. After giving him a lot of opportunities as a sub when we were bare bones due to injury, Pioli said that he had some physiological problems due to having played straight through from the the Eliteserien without a break. But then when he was supposedly fit, how many times did we see Krunić play on the left wing, where we were supposedly so deep, and Hauge was meant to be third choice behind Rebić and Leao? Then he did get an appearance, scored a goal, and that was it. What does it take for a player like that to be given a proper chance?

Decisions like this are the most difficult

Speculating on what could have been is not productive, because today, Hauge signed the contract with Eintracht Frankfurt for the loan deal with option/obligation to buy. Unless they do not meet their criteria, he is their player now. Whether he will prove that Milan loaned him at the right moment and potentially permanently, or whether he will prove that once again, Milan were shortsighted and undervalued what he could have brought to the team is something that only time will tell. I just can't help but feel that Milan are losing something really special here. It feels like losing Hauge.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's To Wish Impossible Things

Our next match is a Friendly
AC Milan vs. Panathinaikos FC
Saturday, August 14 • 20:30 CEST (2:30 EDT)

Losing Hauge Losing Hauge Reviewed by Elaine on 5:25 AM Rating: 5
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