It seemed unbelievable as recently as a few weeks ago but as Ibra had proclaimed and promised Milan won Scudetto number 19. Euphoria has followed, players won season awards and fans declared an official end to the Banter Era. Things are now moving fast and the future and hopes for it are already in focus.
Lots on the agenda for management and the ownership itself. Somewhat unexpectedly Elliott have shown willingness to sell all or part of the team. First Middle East based Investcorp’s name popped up and “things were moving fast”, this has now all but collapsed. USA based fund and Liverpool minority shareholder RedBird is now in for 70 to 100% of the team. Elliott letting go of Milan before a stadium is done and in place goes against previous declarations but it could be that Italy’s famous snail’s pace bureaucratic mess has cooled the current owners to the prospects of it happening sooner rather than later. Also, a new owner might be willing to go ahead with a sole ownership stadium instead of sharing it with Inter as Elliott seemed to be planning.
A potential new owner might be willing to spend more but UEFA’s financial limits and local economics might make it near impossible to do so. There is one rising cost that is inevitable if this team is going to keep growing and that is the team’s wage bill. There are a group of players who despite being under contract for another two years or more may or will need to be offered a raise. Kalulu is one, Tomori is another and Tonali – despite his willingness for the cause – is also another. The biggest however is Leao. The Portuguese winger is at the cusp of super star status and has just won the Serie A MVP of the season award. Talk before the last few weeks was of tripling his current salary to €4.5 million. He and his agent – plus his exposure to Sporting’s lawsuit claiming millions lost in transfer fee when he left them unilaterally to Lille in 2018 – are pushing him to ask for more. Possibly upwards of €7 million per season. Jorge Mendes is an agent who gets things done, perhaps only second to recently deceased Mino Raiola, and it is up to Milan’s management to make the effort to satisfy Leao and keep this pending super star. Kessie and Romagnoli’s practically certain exits and Ibra’s likely reduced salary will provide some savings but a Champions League aspiring team will inevitably be required to be a more expensively assembled one.
Other things that have already happened include Ibra’s left knee surgery that will keep him out until the new calendar year, if not force him to retire. And of course incoming transfers for a team that aims to strengthen. Divock Origi is almost certain to arrive when Liverpool’s season concludes after this weekend’s Champions League final versus Real Madrid. Sven Botman is another likely, as Romagnoli’s replacement and Renato Sanches as Kessie’s replacement. And more. Perhaps Club Brugge’s Noa Lang and Sassuolo’s Gianluca Scamacca are two names on the wish list. Many names will be mentioned and many will obviously not be true or realistic.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Bundesliga survival and Europa League trophy guarantees a few extra millions courtesy of Hauge’s transfer. Duarte’s stay at Istanbul Basaksehir another few. Perhaps Lyon will sell Paqueta to bring in some more to Milan.
It still has a surreal feel to it and the potential of this youngest Scudetto winner in years is big. In the midst of all Pioli’s winner’s medal stolen and then found after the perpetrators posted about it on social media.
Exciting times await fans and all.