Just 48 hours after the conclusion of the Serie A season, both Gennaro Gattuso and Leonardo officially left their positions as Milan coach and sporting director respectively.
Failure to qualify for the Champions League was a huge blow in itself, but with key changes being made already, it merely adds to the uncertainty and concern over what now lies ahead.
Admittedly, both men had their flaws. Question marks were raised over Gattuso’s tactics as Milan had a top-four finish in their hands but let it slip away, while Leonardo did much more positive work than negative in the circumstances since last summer.
In turn, it’s the Brazilian’s departure which is arguably the most concerning, particularly given reports suggest that the split centres around a difference in views and ideas for the club moving forward, with CEO Ivan Gazidis said to now want to focus on young players with high resale potential, as per Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
It’s said that the same issue led to Gattuso’s exit, while it remains to be seen if Paolo Maldini follows them as evidently things have changed since he returned to the club and this seemingly isn’t what his long-time teammates and colleagues signed up for.
Since the day Gazidis walked through the doors at Milan, the message has been that the club must achieve financial stability and sustainable growth with very real FFP concerns needing to be addressed.
In that regard, if the Rossoneri are to now adopt a new strategy in the transfer market in particular with the priority to build a sustainable model and a financially sound club, then so be it.
Perhaps years of financial mismanagement need to be overturned and this is the appropriate way forward with Elliott’s ultimate agenda in mind, and that is to sell the club for a significant profit when they deem it to be the right time.
That could yet see top talents arrive at San Siro and a new Coach capable of playing an attacking and attractive brand of football to build on the progress made this past season.
Further, it’s certainly worth remembering the positive aspects of Gazidis’ time at Arsenal given their financial stability, the Emirates being built, adding top talents to the squad while continuing to qualify for the Champions League year on year prior to the last few campaigns.
It’s easy to now draw a direct link between Gazidis’ work at Arsenal to what he is seemingly planning at Milan, with the financial side of the club becoming a priority.
The risk of that not only lies in the possibility of being years away from competing for major honours, but are we potentially set to lose our identity and now become somewhat of a talent factory, improving young talents and shipping them off when they attract interest from elsewhere?
That’s not what the club’s history has been built on and arguably the direction it should go now, and perhaps that’s why Leonardo and Gattuso have opted to leave while it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Maldini left for the same reasons.
These are individuals with the so-called ‘Milan DNA’, if they are moving on due to a clash of ideas with Gazidis and the ownership, what does that tell us?
Time will tell if this new approach works out better than envisaged. Perhaps Maldini will stay, a Coach with the necessary qualities to deliver good football and results arrives and we add top talents to the squad this summer to put ourselves in a strong position to compete in Serie A next season.
Reading between the lines and looking at the longer-term picture though, there are serious concerns over where our club is going as if we are to look at what Gazidis did in north London, he was excellent in running a business but that doesn’t necessarily result in a successful club in sporting terms.