On April 13 2017, the sale of Italian giants AC Milan to a Chinese consortium was finalised following months of protracted negotiations in a deal worth €740million.
Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux completed their purchase of a 99.9 per cent stake in the club, a statement from previous holding company Fininvest has confirmed.
With the takeover of Inter Milan also being completed in the last couple of months, both of the great Milan teams now head in to the summer with the promises from their owners of unlimited riches being available to build a new golden era at the San Siro.
Whilst some people questioned the fee that was paid for the club – Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux eventually ended up paying €740m despite AC not owning their own stadium, being out of the Champions League and being reported as having made huge losses in the last few years – many people are excited to see if the new owners can restore the club back to it’s former glories. Neutral fans across Europe have welcomed the takeover, too – with many people thinking Serie A in general has stagnated over the past few years and serious competition to Juventus will now happen, given the new investment at the bigger, more traditional clubs.
The new owners at AC Milan have promised to go big this summer and with talk of up to £350m being made available for transfers, the aim is to get Milan back to where they belong. Whilst it is too early to speculate on precise transfer targets for the Rossoneri, players such as current Dortmund and ex-Milan youth player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Spanish midfield playmaker Cesc Fabregas have been linked with moves to the club for a good few months now – with Cesc Fabregas in particular rumoured to have given “verbal agreement” that he would be signing from Chelsea this summer. Talk of signing Leo Messi has also been heard amongst the Italian media, but this seems highly unlikely given the fee and salary which would be needed in order to make that deal happen – should Messi even be interested, of course.
Whilst the owners seem to be genuine about restoring the club back to it’s former glories, serious doubts have been cast over their credibility to back up the promise of significant funds being made available in the next few years. Respected Italian Journalist James Horncastle told BT Sport’s European Football Show a couple of weeks ago that the reason for the new owners’ delay in completing the deal was down to them failing to secure the money required to finance the purchasing of the club. Since completing the takeover, it has come to light that the only way they were able to complete the deal was by borrowing £303m from a US hedge fund that has a 11% interest rate on it and is required to be paid back within the next 2 years. This is a huge amount of money which has been borrowed and, despite the massive figures being spoken about regarding Transfer funds, fans and people at the club must be concerned at whether these funds will actually be available when the window opens.
Concerns over the new owners have also been raised by Paolo Maldini – the Milan legend who played over 650 games for the club and won countless titles during his 25 years as a player. According to Horncastle, the new owners offered Maldini a senior sporting director’s role at the club and were very keen for him to shape the future of the side. Maldini rejected this role, pointing to his own uncertainty over the new owners as his reason for turning down the role. Franco Baresi – also a former legendary defender for the club – is now expected to take up the role in the next few weeks.
It is an exciting time in Serie A and with Roma, Inter and AC Milan all making significant changes at boardroom and playing level in the last year or so, the Old Lady from Turin better start looking over her shoulder. Serie A is about to heat up again.