Aug 212016

Milan Torino

Follow the game as it happens on the forum.

A historic summer is coming to an end for Milan, one that provided much uncertainty and still has not taken form.

The much talked about and seemingly sure thing sale of Milan dragged on and on and only reached the preliminary agreement stage in August. The months preceding the agreement gave fans and all observers much to doubt but the aftermath of the agreement has disappointed too.

Those same months brought transfers that didn’t seem to fill any need. Leonel Vangioni’s arrival from River Plate, finalized early in year, was and is rightly questioned. A full back not being the most urgent team need. Early in the summer Gianluca Lapadula arrived from Pescara and again a forward not the team’s most urgent need. Perhaps these transfers can be defended on assumptions that De Sciglio and Bacca were to depart but neither has left yet and may never leave.

The agreement with the Chinese brought increased hope for a much needed rebuild, the hope that Adriano Galliani is replaced and a new management team plans and spends wisely but massively. Marco Fassone, veteran of other Serie A teams like Inter, is said to replace Galliani soon and he may have funds to spend. The aforementioned funds have not materialized for the summer 2016 transfer window however as the agreement is not final and neither party are willing to spend without a final signature.

Many names have featured in incoming rumours and as is often the case have many have been just rumours or have been lost to other teams. Names like Marko Pjaca and Piotr Zielinski made it to other Serie A teams while Milan without funds and without leadership have unearthed lesser known and lesser rated players like Gustavo Gomez and Jose Sosa. The remaining days of the transfer window look to disappoint as well since the only possible way to capture players is in way of loans with obligations to pay next year. It remains to be seen if any player of the caliber of Mateo Kovacic can be had this way.

So the new season starts with Montella at the helm and a promise of investment in January and summer 2017. The coach has settled on a 4-3-3 formation and early on seemed open to losing Bacca and using Lapadula or Niang as a lone center forward. In the meanwhile he has to deal with an ineffective midfield and a questionable defense. Montolivo has to put a 2015-2016 poor season behind him as does Bertolacci. The indications are that both will be starters. Bonaventura will need to replicate his previous season’s form and also further prove that his exclusion from Italy’s Euro 2016 squad was a mistake. Further up front Suso has been in good form since his loan spell at Genoa and has shown promise in the preseason, Niang has shown growth as well and Bacca will likely start as long as he is still a Milan player. At the back the choices are sparse, Paletta returns from a loan and needs to be really good as does new arrival Gomez because other than Romagnoli the choices are not inspiring to say the least. Vergara, Ely and the injured Zapata do not fill any person with confidence. De Sciglio looks likely to edge out Antonelli for now and Abate will retain his spot. In goal Donnarumma will be given the chance to continue to show that he is the big prospect that he promised to be in 2015-2016. On the subject of goalkeeping it is a surprise that Lopez is still a Milan player, at one point he was close to moving to Chelsea, to serve as Thibaut Courtois’ back up, but the transfer fell through. Donnarumma is backed up by the returning (from loan) Gabriel and perhaps someone other than Lopez, the window is still open!

Aug 172016
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photo ©

After much talk about finding possible midfield reinforcements within the supposed €15 million summer budget, and a search that spanned continents Jose Sosa signs from Besiktas for a reported €7.5 million.

Last week Boca’s Uruguayan Rodrigo Bentancur seemed close to Milan but since Juventus have an option on him, as part of their Carlos Tevez deal, it has been difficult to get the 19 year old to Milan. One ‘alternative’, if one could call it that, had been Sosa and the 31 year old and comes to Milan after shining in Turkey but flopping at Bayern, Napoli and elsewhere before it.

The deal is said to be for two years and the player may not be available for the Torino opener but should be available for week two at Napoli.

Aug 052016
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photo ©

In a deal that was out of the blue and concluded quickly by most football standards Gustavo Gomez signs a five year contract with Milan.

In the last few days when the Chinese deal seemed to be collapsing and the transfer market blocked the name of Gustavo Gomez popped up and surprised many. Most Milan fans knew little to nothing about the Lanus central defender. To some at least he seemed like a cheaper alternative to the likes of Mateo Musacchio and Shkodran Mustafi and a sign that Milan were trying to find a lower cost defender to fill the spot left open by the departures of Mexes and Alex after last season.

The 23 year old Paraguayan has signed for an apparent €7 million fee.

Jul 052016

Updated August 5, 2016

Berlusconi with the representatives of the Chinese group

Berlusconi with the representatives of the Chinese group

The sale has become official. the day finally arrived.

Fininvest have released a statement confirming that preliminary sale to a Chinese group composed somewhat differently from the much talked about group.

The binding deal is valued at €740m, is led by Sino-Europe Changxing Sports Investment Management Co.Ltd which includes China’s State Fund for Development and Investment, Haixia Capital and Li Yonghong, the amount includes cleared debts of around €220m. There are plans to invest €350m over three years. Up to €100 million will be available between now and the deal’s closing, due before the end of 2016. The amount available for this transfer window, which closes on August 31st, may only be €15 million.

The management structure is not clear yet as it seems part of the delay was due to disagreements and the group that finally secured the deal does not include Nicholas Gancikoff, the touted future Milan CEO.

Lots more to follow, here and on the forum.

photo ©

photo ©

The rest of the article as it appeared before August 5th is below:

Today Berlusconi was released from hospital and said that he has sold Milan. He has demanded that the Chinese invest €400 million over two years to bring Milan back to the top. More details and preliminary agreement signing should be next week.

According to sources, Robin Li, of search engine Baidu, the sometimes rumoured leader the Chinese group is indeed the main person behind the bid.

Galliani may leave his CEO post as soon as September but will leave as a vice president or in some sort of similar capacity, as will Barbara Berlusconi. Nicholas Gancikoff will then become Milan’s CEO. There is no clear or official indication on what will happen after this summer. Many hope to have a clearer picture next week, July 12th or 13th, when and if the preliminary is signed.

In the meanwhile Galliani is looking to make rapid recruitments and names like Marko Pjaca, Mateo Musacchio, Shkodran Mustafi are most mentioned.

Despite the new transfer budget Carlos Bacca is likely to leave as Montella is given more freedom to shape his squad.

More than two weeks have passed since the initial Berlusconi statement upon his release from hospital. The market has since been ‘blocked’ awaiting the take over. The bigger names like Baidu’s Robin Li have been replaced by lesser names like Sonny Wu and venture capitals instead of personal or corporate wealth. There is little known about how the take over will really be, there have been too many reports and contradictory statements from supposed insiders. At this point there is even a possibility of a 100% take over (instead of 70~80%) and there is an outside chance that nothing will happen. In the meanwhile the team is flying to the US for the International Champions Cup and Montella is taking with him an uncertainty as to who he will have at his disposal when the season starts the weekend of August 21st.

With no end in sight and repeated delays just to produce a preliminary agreement Milan, and not a final closing one, Milan moves further in to the abyss. The chances of a preliminary agreement before the end of the transfer window get dimmer every day and a final agreement is not even something to speculate about. The only way to buy a player and strengthen the team this August is via selling first because no one including Fininvest is willing to spend ‘out of pocket’. Therefore De Sciglio’s – after Bacca’s failure to reach an agreement with West Ham, PSG, etc – name has popped up to raise some money. It is just a rumour but sacrificing the supposed ‘unsellable’ player would be another episode in the poor management saga that is Berlusconi and Galliani.


Jun 282016

Vincenzo Montella

The summer transfer activity and the hopefully soon to be reality sale to the Chinese group has almost overshadowed the coaching situation. Cristian Brocchi often rumoured to be the choice of Berlusconi to stay on seems to have indicated that he wants to leave and has now been replaced.

Vincenzo Montella signs for two years and it remains to be seen how much input did others, besides Galliani, had in this choice. Lots of rumours about the Chinese sale moving forward in recent days but is it advanced enough for decisions like a choosing a new coach?

It is not the first time Montella has been linked with Milan but his name disappeared from the rumour mill with names like Unai Emery and Marco Giampaolo most in the news recently. Montella comes in after a less than successful short stint at Sampdoria, his work at Fiorentina was more noteworthy however.

Jun 242016
Gianluca Lapadula scored 30 goals in 44 games for Pescara in Serie B

Gianluca Lapadula scored 30 goals in 44 games for Pescara in Serie B

Pescara forward Gianluca Lapadula has signed with Milan until 30th June 2021. The 26 year forward becomes the first summer 2016 signing after Milan beat Napoli to his signature. This summer has been one of the more uncertain ones with the supposed Chinese take over moving along at a snail’s pace and complicated with Silvio Berlusconi’s heart surgery and subsequent recovery.

If signing a now former Serie B forward is a bad sign and throws doubt into the Chinese sales saga one can not be sure. One can assume that the €13 million received to make Stephan El Shaarawy’s move to Roma permanent provided the funds for this transfer, thought to be €10 million. Milan fans are entitled to hope that any Chinese take over shows greater ambition than Lapadula but with many players, including forwards like Menez and Balotelli, almost certain to leave there are plenty of open spots on the roster.

In the meanwhile fans wait and see if the Chinese negotiations lead to anything or if Milan is to remain in Berlusconi’s hands and a relative low budget “ItalMilan” is the way forward.

May 262016

by Juan Carlos Martínez –

Below is a comprehensive piece on the current state of AC Milan. Juan Carlos presents one possible (conservative) scenario on how to move forward with a new strategy that will eventually take Milan back to the top and modernize the team’s football operations. In it he sets a clear scope on how to rejuvenate and rebuild the squad and achieve a self sufficient model.

May 212016

Milan’s dreadful season came to an end last week, the lack of cohesion and passion when facing a bigger team like Roma was embarrassing. Now Milan face Juventus in a final, another poor showing will further hurt the image of the team worldwide.

Tim Cup 2016

The week leading up to the final has felt uncertain, everything from mixed signals about the sale of the team to Berlusconi’s own actions and words to Brocchi’s apparent indecision about the lineup and formation.

Milan reached this cup final without having to beat any top teams. Wins against Perugia, Crotone, Sampdoria, Carpi and Alessandria don’t represent a true test. Considering Milan’s form and if Juventus play to their standard this game is a lost cause. The only real hope is that the players show some pride and represent the Milan shirt well.

Tactically most of the talk has centered around a return to a 4-3-3 of sorts, with the returning Bonaventura playing higher with Honda and Bacca starting up the middle. The midfield may feature the Poli, Montolivo and Kucka trio. The defense still without Abate and Antonelli looks to be Calabria, Zapata, Romagnoli and De Sciglio. Donnarumma should start in goal.

Juventus will be without Bonucci and Marchisio, Khedira and Neto may continue to get the start in Buffon’s place as he has throughout the cup matches this season.

A win and Thursday night Europa League matches beckon, a loss and another Europe-less season awaits … with new owners?

The match kicks off at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico at 20:45 local time. Follow the match on the forum.

May 142016

Milan Roma

The final week of another disappointing season is here and the news is once again dominated by the possible sale to the Chinese group. The Berlusconi era needs to end this summer if the team is to have any chance of becoming a force again. Berlusconi and Galliani still talk of a glorious Milan but they have surely realized that it is in the past, the same past that they are so insistent on mentioning every chance they get. Without a change in management and a new focus this team will fall even further behind than the 6th or 7th spot of this season.

That supposedly important 6th spot has been almost lost, the laboured week 37 1-0 win at Bologna might mean little not only because the final day opponent is Roma, themselves fighting for 2nd spot but also because Sassuolo perhaps deserve the 6th spot more. The Emilia-Romagna based team play Inter and get the chance to make a little bit of history of their own.

News late in the week was of many lineup changes for this game. The reasons for it are not very clear and the Coppa final is one week away so fatigue should not be a major issue. Normally reliable sources like the Gazzetta claim the defense will feature Romagnoli at left back with Mexes, Zapata and Calabria. The midfield is set to feature Locatelli, Poli and Kucka behind Honda. Bonaventura returns after injury but will remain on the bench. The changes don’t end there as Adriano and Balotelli will start with no place for Bacca. All very surprising changes for an important game versus a tough opponent.

Back in goal Abbiati announced that he has decided to leave Milan and the 38 year old might get a send off by getting a start or getting a few final minutes.

Follow the match on the forum.


May 072016

Bologna Milan

A so-called come back to tie the game 3-3 (from 1-3 down) versus the 19th placed team was hardly a cause for celebration. Brocchi may have sealed his own fate by the tie versus Frosinone. The team lacked structure and was unable to to hold shape consistently.

The week leading up to 37th game of the Serie A season was again mostly dominated by the team’s sale or lack there of. Contradictory reports had Berlusconi having doubts, preferring a Milan buyer and Fininvest accepting initial terms. The fear, once again, is that Berlusconi will hang on to the team and make some grand declaration while the team sinks further. Not forgetting the damage Galliani himself has bestowed on the team. Every additional window he is in charge postpones any possible revival or renewal. One striking example is the mooted idea of renewing Montolivo for three years, it is as if the team’s management are living in another dimension, not only ignoring form but remaining blind to the team’s shortcomings. If nothing else, fan comments on Berlusconi’s facebook page surely reach the ex-PM’s ears? Or perhaps not.

On the injury front Bonaventura is still out, Antonelli joins him on the sidelines after injuring himself late in the Frosinone game. Late in the week came news that abate has a knock and he too misses week 37. A reworked defense featuring De Sciglio, Romagnoli, Alex and Calabria will line up behind Mauri, Montolivo, Kucka and Honda. Balotelli and Bacca should start up front. The latter needs to be massive if Milan are going to get points in the last two Serie A games.

Follow the match on the forum.

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