While the priority for fans is always results on the pitch, equally as important in Milan’s current situation is progress off it from a business and financial perspective.
It’s never been a secret that Elliott’s priority since taking control at Milan has been to increase the financial value of the club with a view of selling us on for a profit at a suitable time in the future.
Qualification for the Champions League, signing top players and challenging for trophies would all certainly help with that process, and it’s hoped that we can achieve some of those objectives in the coming months.
However, the focus also needs to remain on what is being done off the pitch by the management team put in place from both a commercial and sporting standpoint, as they will effectively set the tone and example for everyone else at the club and more is seemingly needed in four key areas.
Commercial and revenue growth
The tweet below exposes a concerning issue at Milan over the last 20+ years in terms of the lack of growth we’ve seen in overall revenue and lucrative commercial deals as it’s not only hugely disappointing looking at our figures in isolation, but also when comparing to how much other clubs have grown in that same timeframe.
While it seems pointless to dwell on previous management figures and what was done in the past, it’s perhaps more productive to assess what the current people in charge are doing to improve our position.
— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) October 12, 2019
As noted by Sport Business, Ivan Gazidis was appointed as chief executive in December last year, with his contract set to run until next summer. So almost a year in and with eight months remaining on his deal, what has the former Arsenal chief achieved?
A quick glance through SportsPro Media’s Milan archives show that deals with Boglioli, A2A Energia, Piquadro and Axitea have been done, while perhaps most importantly in terms of how lucrative it could be, SportsPro Media note that the Rossoneri are looking to extend the shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates and they could sell the naming rights to the new proposed stadium.
There’s not a lot in that though to suggest that there has been any ground-breaking improvements made that could help result in significant increases in revenue, although given Gazidis and those around him are much more experienced in this field, perhaps it’s difficult finding fixes and crucial agreements with long-term benefits in a competitive field for a side struggling on the pitch.
Either way though, that’s why he was brought in, and we’ll hope to see more tangible results in the coming months.
Add experience in January
As noted by MilanNews, CFO Zvonimir Boban recently conceded his belief that Milan need to add more experience to the squad, and that is potentially something they’ll look at in January.
While that may not fit the strategy deployed under Elliott thus far which has been centred on signing young players with potential and high resale value, it’s arguably needed if we’re to achieve our objectives moving forward.
Assuming that Stefano Pioli can get us on track between now and January, adding fundamental pieces who can bring experience and real quality to the squad to take us back into the top four could be decisive and that’s where the sporting figures in the management come into play as Boban and Paolo Maldini need to do their best to deliver.
See through stadium plans
As per BBC Sport, two options have been presented which will see us share our possible new home with Inter as a 60,000-seat stadium coupled with much-needed renovating of the area around the site has been proposed.
Not only would it give us a modern, multi-functional area which is needed for all top clubs at this point, it would also produce a significant revenue stream in itself by having ownership and also being able to profit from the commercial agreements and opportunities that could be exploited as part of the match-day experience and all-round facilities at the stadium.
There have been a couple of false starts when it comes to a new arena in recent years, dating back to when former director Barbara Berlusconi was initially pushing for one. In turn, this management need to ensure that this vision becomes a reality regardless of the nostalgia and magic of San Siro.
Build a clear Milan identity
In a recent interview, former Milan director Umberto Gandini arguably hit the nail on the head with his comments regarding the owners and current management, as reported by Football Italia.
He noted that the focus for Elliott is on making a profit on their investment, while adding that he doesn’t believe Milan have a ‘face’ currently, which was previously provided by Gennaro Gattuso before his departure at the end of last season.
From clear and sensible decision-making at board level including from a business perspective to sporting matters down to the coach and the players, there needs to be a clear identity running through the club and perhaps a figurehead to it all to take responsibility and steer the ship.
Milan must rebuild a reputation of being diligent and innovative off the pitch, while playing with a clear direction and style on it. Perhaps if we can gel those things together and become a sufficient and progressive unit as a whole, we’ll start our ascent to get back to the top of European football.
However, Milan are still seemingly a long way off and need to improve in the areas discussed above to satisfy Elliott and more importantly the fans to ensure that there is a vision to get us back competing at the highest level again.