In what has become alarmingly common, Milan once again find themselves just above mid-table as we reach the winter break. This trend may only get worse with the new windfall of revenue soon to inflate the already much richer Premier League; thus decreasing the market competitiveness of Italian clubs. And yet, while the future may look bleak, there remain several steps that can be taken to once more see Milan compete amongst the elite.
- Build a World Class Scouting Network
Gone are the days where exceptional directors such as Leonardo and Braida lead extensive scouting networks to unearth major talent such as the likes of Kaka and Thiago Silva. With finances having been rather tight of late, it is imperative that Milan learn from the likes of Porto, Benfica, Udinese etc. in order to become a leader in identifying and developing future generations of talent.
2. Reinvigorate Management at All Levels
While the Milan squad has overseen significant turmoil over the last 4 years including four different managers and a long transfer list of mediocre talent, leadership at the top has stagnated to say the least.
Berlusconi and Galliani seem clueless as to how to reinvigorate the squad. However the solution is rather simple; Milan, like most other massive clubs, has an extensive list of world class ex-players and coaches willing to offer their expertise. Few clubs have the likes of Maldini, Sacchi, Ancelotti, Nesta and so many others that can all be given some role within the club to inspire and innovate. The only way forward requires egos to be put aside.
3. Beat Financial Fair Play at its Own Game
There is no doubt that FFP has utterly destroyed clubs such as the Rossoneri who relied heavily on sugar daddies. However few people understand that FFP primarily seeks to restrict club debt while encouraging good debt.
Good debt refers to investments within the infrastructure of the club that can lead to future benefits. Milan should seek to invest heavily in re-establishing the famed Milan Labs, Milanello and possibly a new world class stadium to serve as a solid foundation on which to rebuild.
4. Establish an Identity
The most obvious indication that Milan are no longer a top club is evident in the lackluster weekly performances fans have come to expect. Transfer targets have been identified simply because of availability rather than necessity and the constant management, lineup and formation changes has evidently had a horrible effect on the consistency of the squad.
It is essential that top management must outline a clear path forward by establishing a club identity on which to base all essential decisions. Top clubs have all branded themselves by their football mentalities which directly affects the type of managers who are brought to the club, style of play, formations utilized and transfer targets identified.
5. Quality not Quantity
Milan’s transfer campaigns over the last few years have been nothing short of a joke. Over 20 players have arrived within the last 4 years including Mario Balotelli and now Kevin Prince-Boateng who were signed twice. The squad size remains amongst the largest in Europe despite only playing once every week and don’t even think about the wages spent on mediocre talent. While last summer may show signs of more thought and effort being given to transfer targets, there are still several huge gaps of quality within the team that need to be addressed sooner than later.