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The Rossoneri, the change of ownership, prospective transfer market, and the mood and sentiment of the fans: an analysis of the Chinese Milan to come.
A Chinese business consortium, Chinese government funds, and an economic commitment to revive the club: AC Milan is changing properties. In a statement issued last Friday afternoon, Finivest approved the preliminary sale of 99.93% of the club. The Investors will pay 740 million euros, a figure that includes the clubs 220 Million euro debt. The deal is all but complete, with penalties pending if the accord is not respected, and its expected to close later this year.
“A painful but necessary choice, in the world football market its impossible to keep up with these figures” Silvio Berlusconi (who will continue as honorary president) admitted after the sale of Milan. Here are the figures to bring competitive Rossoneri side back to Milan: the new group in charge of AC Milan is estimated to invest 350 million Euros in players over three years. 100 million will be allocated shortly: 15 of which at the signing, and the remaining 85 within 35 days. The rest will be distributed over the next two years, bringing the total of the operation to more than a billion euros.
The agreement was reached with the Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Co. Ltd. Changxing, a government back company established for foreign investments. The chairman of the company is Li Yonghong who join the Board of directors as 15% of shares, while another 15% will be held by Haixia Capital, a fund run by the Chinese state.
As reported by Marco Iaria of the Gazzetta dello Sport, the Haixa Capital state fund “was established in 2010 with a budget of 4.5 billion euro, and so far the investment has focused in infrastructure, construction, and the acquisition of French agriculture companies.” The remaining 70% will be distributed among other investors, both private and public entities. The model is structured like teams in the Chinese Super League, where private interests are subject to the will of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has identified football as “an unprecedented opportunity”, because “it has a great social impact and is loved by the masses.”
Galliani in Ibiza with Inzaghi to sign Menez, courted like a vintage Ronaldinho. The arrival of Alex on a free transfer; these are the headlines associated with this Milan of “impossible dreams”. Spending the closing hours of the transfer window in Arcore, desperately attempting to revive to moral of a fanbase whose prevailing emotion is that of sadness.
Since the summer of 2012 in tandem with the departures of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, Milan fans have grown accustomed to just looking away during the transfer season. Consoling themselves with a few interesting purchases made by third parties; a form of escapism that allowed us to survive season after season without much excitement. Last year, Berlusconi looked as though he might inject some cash, ahead of an imminent agreement with Mr. Bee that never materialised. Now, what can we expect from a club that seems to have finally entered the obese world of global football?
With the deal only expected to conclude between December and January, Milan have a 15 million euro down payment available for the summer market. If this figure includes the purchases of Lapadula (9 million) and Gustavo Gomes (8 million) we could only buy after selling. With De Sciglio regarded as unsellable after the Euros, only the sale of Bacca could swell the AC Milan coffers to bring home the signings requested by Montella.
With the closing of the deal that will only be finalised in the next few months, and seared by years of Berlusconi’s lacking investment, what can realistically be expected this transfer market? On the list of “impossible dreams” players like Kovacic and Isco seem newest stars falsely rumoured to join the club in past years. This summer though, we want to see functional signings for the southern Italian manager: it would already be a step in the right direction.
After 30 years the Berlusconi era has come to an anticlimactic end, leaving a general air of gloom. The 200 Ultras that met in Villa San Martino in late July brought banner baring slogans that resonate with everyone: “Who are these Chinese? We want a President!”
Fans who are 30 and younger have never seen AC Milan without Berlusconi. They struggle to imagine a San Siro without Galliani, and his son, always sitting behind him in a white polo shirt, even in the winter. When the last signatures of the deal are penned, the club will no doubt remind the fans of trophies conquered in over the last 3 decades. These are the last line of defence for a club who cannot explain why selling to undefined Chinese investors for undefined sums is the only possible solution.
In recent years Milan has become characterised by eerie Saturday nights in a half empty San Siro, interrupted by the goals of declining playmakers signed on loan, a team too poor to fight for anything, but to strong to risk dropping to the bottom half of the table. In short, the absolute mediocrity is even less exciting then being terrible and still fighting for something.
So we welcome any possibility of a change, even the Chinese. The men of Sino-Europe Investment Management Changxing cannot claim to be Rossoneri since birth. They will never find themselves in front of a banner like “Silvio, Milan loves you”. It remains to be seen how Milan can be used to benefit a fund that invests in French Chicken farms and Chinese highways, but to whoever thinks that the identity of the club will be torn apart, needs look no further than the hideous black and red ball that someone decided to replace the club’s crest with last season.