Alas, we’ve reached the final countdown in the never-ending saga surrounding the future of one of world football’s biggest powerhouses, AC Milan. In a few days, the red and black torch is set to be passed on from president Silvio Berlusconi to Chinese group Sino-Europe Sports, putting to rest months of uncertainty and suspicion. Having said that, whatever your plans may be to pay homage to Mister Berlusconi and celebrate this historical takeover, you may want to consider postponing them.
Since first receiving confirmation of Sino-Europe Sports and Berlusconi’s agreement over the sale of the Club last summer, supporters have circled the closing date(s) on their calendars. Over the course of six months however, the mood has changed in Milano, and abroad. Countless times, the closing date has been pushed back. Doubt and past deceit has casted a cloud over the likelihood of another setback. First, it was November, fueling hopes over the prospect of a potent January Transfer Window. Then, January came and went, eventually turning into our latest March 3rd closing date. Now if you’ve not been privy to the unrest amongst the supporters, you should know the fanbase is on edge. And with every passing day, whispers turn into moans – eventually angst – under the premonition that perhaps they’ve been played once again.
With all that being said, how concerned should supporters of the Rossoneri be over the possibility of another delay?
Today, AC Milan released the following statement:
“AC Milan announces that considering the notification the majority shareholder Fininvest S.p.A. made to the Club, the shareholders’ meeting will be held on second call on March 3rd, 2017, at 9:30 am at Casa Milan (via Aldo Rossi, 8 Milano).”
While this press release does not directly imply any hurdles exist in threatening a 3 March 2017 closing, Italian media cast it as a cause for concern, with the latest from Sky Italia speculating there is a chance of further postponement. Of course, this report triggered panic from not only Milan supporters, but Italian football as a whole, provoking collective concern that the buying group is having trouble with regards to capital. Naturally, these rumors caused initial trauma, yet much can be said about what we already know is true: the Chinese investment group’s €200m deposit. The old adage goes “money can’t buy happiness,” depending on who you ask of course, yet this now feels almost like an effort of good faith. Or, it’s simply a stall tactic to buy additional time. On the other hand, if the Chinese were able to make such a large down payment, and are in fact legitimate, what is the hold up? Is it just media with a hunch, flying rumors up the proverbial flag pole? Or, are the potential new owners legitimately stalling because they simply do not hold the financial clout to strike a deal? The only individuals who can confidently answer all these questions are those sitting inside every meeting at Arcore and Casa Milan.
Regardless of whether or not the sale of the club is in doubt, we have a conundrum on our hands. To some degree, there is tension inside each individual supporter. Vastly different levels of concern exist. The optimist tells you everything is fine, and that this time around will be much different than the whole Bee Taechaubol debacle. Conversely, the pessimist argues the closing will collapse, and the big summer we’ve all dreamed of is all in wishful thinking. In most cases however, the realist provides the most logical viewpoint. Supported by sensible information, logic and fact, these individuals make mention of both Silvio and CEO Adriano Galliani’s personal statements of admittance with respect to expiring roles at the club.
A lot is unknown about this transaction. Be that as it may, a few things are in fact clear: former Inter director Marco Fassone will be confirmed as the new CEO, alongside Massimo Mirabelli who has already begun scouting possible targets for the summer market as the new sporting director. Given the confidence of current leadership, the involvement of both Fassone and Mirabelli, and the large sum already deposited by Sino-Europe Sports, odds are all parties will reach a settlement.
Yonghong Li will likely succeed Silvio this summer, and as difficult as it may be to comprehend, fans need to be patient. Yes, easier said than done I suppose as this has an impact on Milan’s summer and, most importantly, whether star keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will sign a long-term commitment to the club. The hope is Silvio Berlusconi will follow through on his promise, handing the club over to those truly committed to AC Milan’s restoration as one of the top clubs in football. He has publicly demonstrated his desire to relinquish power. The big question is when will he?
In due time, the future of AC Milan will be understood. Patience.
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