By Jasmit Jabbal
With Italian football rocked by further revelations of bribing referees, this time by the blue and black half of Milan, and reduced Champions League places, the news that Berlusconi could been penalized billions of euros has been met with horror; what does the future hold for AC Milan?
If Galliani’s fears for the Rossoneri’s financial future are justified, its future on the pitch could be jeopardy also. Juventus, Roma and Inter promise to spend big, on the account of new managers trying to rebuild, whereas the defending champions have made 3 signings without even slicing the crust off the pie. It is a well documented fact that Milan do not have the youngest team in the world, and without any youngsters coming through the academy pushing for a starting spot, and the astronomical wages some of the elder statesmen are on, how can Milan possibly maintain a side capable of challenging for honors without Berlusconi’s millions bankrolling a transfer spree on younger players.
What makes this situation more compelling is that Italian football is unable to attract players as it did in the 90’s. The EPL and La Liga are seen as the dominant leagues in football, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea having the financial clout to lure whomever they please. Milan is no longer the biggest team in Italy, despite winning the Scudetto. Inter arguably claim that title as the current World Champions of club football.
So what does this all mean? Firstly star players will have to leave and Milan must invest in young hard working players to build a team capable of continually making the Champions League, much like the Arsenal model. Pato is destined to stay due to his relationship with the owner’s daughter, but there are fears that Thiago Silva, undoubtedly Milan’s best player, may be on his way to Barcelona next summer. Either the Rossoneri players must continue to defy age or Milan may have to find new owners.
However Berlusconi has gotten out of trickier situations than this, and may use his the effect any sanction on him may have on this famous club as a political ploy, who knows?
In either case, with financial fair play rules coming into play, Milan must build a sustainable model whereby they invest in youth and use the experienced players they currently have to keep them competitive while younger players gain experience.
This is an issue that Milan must address now, or by the time Pato reaches Inzaghi’s age, the future Milan may be like the present Sampdoria.