Italian football journalist Gabriele Marcotti recently featured on the Milan Weekly Podcast (Episode 55), where he covered an array of topics relating to the Rossoneri. He provides his insights on Elliot's take over of the club, the expected arrival of the 'New Kaka', and the Azzurri all before providing his predictions for this weekend's famed Derby della Madonnina.
With Elliott, the big fear when they took over, was that they were going to go and just say screw this let's get our money now, they were going to asset strip and sell whatever they could so they could get their loan repaid and then just move away.
They haven't done that, in fact they've taken a view of turning the club around in the medium term. They wouldn't have gone to great lengths in bringing Ivan Gazidis if that were the case.
The difficult thing now is obviously, Milan are in limbo with financial fair play because of what happened before. They have to go through that whole procedure, take a hit, and from there Elliott will have to pick up the pieces and try to come up with a voluntary agreement that would enable them to keep some level of spending while also showing how they grow revenue. That is a big reason why I think Gazidis is there.
Milan is going to have to be smart how they spend the money while at the same time being very clever in how they grow the revenue not just in Serie A but around the world and that's going to be the challenge.
Elliott doesn't have experience in sports, that is why they brought in Ivan Gazidis who does. Looking past Gazidis viewed from the outside, you have Gazidis who obviously is a pretty smart competent guy with tons of experience in football, and then they pursuaded Maldini to come back. First Berlusconi, then Fassone, all these people saying Paolo will you come back and he always said no. I think the fact he put his faith in this project I think is massive. Paolo Maldini doesn't need to work, if he came back it is because he believed in the project, that is very encouraging if you are a Milan fan. Also Leonardo is another sharp guy who brings credibility to the project.
I think having gone down this road, I don't think Elliott are going to pull the plug, they are going to see to what value they can grow the club. From their perspective, given the money they put in and the amount they lost when Li defaulted, if they can sell the club for more than 600 or 700 million euros they will have made a handsom profit. They think, and they're probably not wrong, they can raise the value of the club to more than 1 billion. I think that is going to be their goal and their time horizon is 3-5 years.
One potential arrival of Lucas Paqueta...
I only saw him on TV when he made his debut with Brazil and some video clips. He plays at a huge club like Flamengo which bodes well in terms of coping with the pressure. Over the years we have seen a lot of guys come from Brazil with huge price tags and some of them live up to the billing and others do not.
I think you have to put your faith in Leonardo on this one. Leonardo is well connected and is from Rio, he has been in Europe 20-25 years as a player, an executive, as a manager, he knows which Brazilian players can transition to Europe and which ones can not.
There was a big deal made about beating out PSG and the Qatari money, however PSG are in FFP hell right now so hard to say how this limited their ability to push the price up. Also from Paqueta's point of view, I look around at PSG's attacking players and I look at Milan's attacking players and I ask myself where am I more likely to get playing time and undoubtedly it's at Milan not at PSG. It is smart business from Leonardo but hard to say if the price is right or the player is any good until I see more of him.
What about the Azzurri...
There really is a legitimate generation of young talent coming through, not all of them are going to be superstars but I think with the national team you don't necessarily need 20 superstars. You need 4-5 superstars or fuori classe and you need functional players around them and a good coach. That generally has been the formula for success for any national team. We won a world cup with Perrotta, Zaccardo, Iaquinta.
I feel pretty good about the future, I think Mancini is a really competent coach tactically. What I don't like about Mancini is he has a temper, he gets hissy fits - he gets to wound up. We saw it at Inter and Manchester City. I don't think you can do that when you're the national team manager. Now he's older and a bit more mature. I didn't like how he treated the first round of UEFA nations league games like a friendly, he made 9 changes from one game to the next.
I don't think we'll win our nations league group. I hope to see positive forward progress. I loved that first hour in the friendly against Ukraine with that midfield of Barella, Jorginho and Verratti. For the first time as far back as I can remember, our entire midfield is filled with people who can actually play and hit a pass and do something special and have high quality on the ball. The future is certainly brighter than the last couple of years have been.
Finally, Derby predictions...
Milan play better football simply put and they play even better football when Higuain is there. He takes them to another level in terms of finishing and what they can do, especially in big games.
I am not sold on Spalletti but I think they have a better starting XI top to bottom but feels too much like individuals.
I think it's going to be an open game, there's going to be goals and I predict 2-2.