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Thurday Milan Musings: Transfer Talk

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With yet another transfer window coming to a close and the Rossoneri doing next to nothing to reinforce the squad, you have to wonder how our Club a onetime transfer juggernaut has fallen so quickly from grace? Now, understand, that I am fully aware that the current economic crisis is dramatically effecting football transfers as a whole, and the over inflation of player values has not made this any easier, in fact to some extent allowing only Man City and Real to be real shoppers, as the rest of the footballing World stares longingly at their crumbling financial's. I also want to commend Milan for taking some financial accountability and doing what is right for the Club long term, calling for drastic buys of expensive players is foolish, and if the economy ever corrects itself Milan will be poised for a head start, while Clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United are sinking, but just because you are operating on a tight budget it doesn’t excuse the Milan Brass for what I believe has become the detriments to our transfer policy:

1. Milan has lost its cutting edge in transfer market.

I know this sounds odd to say, but the Club and the Brass have lost touch with the modern game and player development. When I look at Inter’s transfer policy since June 1, 2009 they have unloaded the hefty salary of Zlatan, taking on Eto, brought in Milito and Motta, Pandev for free, and now Mariga for a song! They did all this on economically , without breaking the bank, and based pretty much on the sale of Zlatan to Barca. Milan on the other hand sold Kaka, spent 20M on KJH, close to 8M on Aadiyah, and brought back Abate and Becks. While Milan was also fiscally responsible, notice the difference in the moves, it took balls to do what Inter did, they were brash, took risk, and they took advantage of good situations, all cornerstones to what AC Milan used to do. This may be the only time I am envious of the cross towners! The deadline deal of buying Mariga, a guy who at 22, is drawing and comparisons to Essien; versus taking Mancini off of Jose’s hands so he has one less mouth to listen to complaints from is not a Milan who is in tune with modern football. Maybe it is Fester’s fault? Maybe it is Berlu’s fault? Maybe moving Leo to the bench has lost a linchpin in scouting? In the end it is not good enough. Bottom line, and it goes for the tifosi as well, if you notice a player and the media is already washing his soccer “balls” then guess what? It is too late, move on and find someone else, that player's value is already inflated, and your return on investment is probably a wash, we are sadly mired in this with KJH, and we don’t need to make the same mistake twice.

2. Milan has lost their identity.

Milan teams of the 90’s and early 2000’s were star studded affairs with homegrown Italians to feed the NT, and a contingent of players from one country. In the 90’s it was Dutch, in the 00’s it was Brazilians, but now we have lost that identity both with homegrown talent and foreigners. The current Milan team is an amalgam of players from all over but none of them with a strong link to each other. Our Brazilian players span two generations, our Italian players have a ten year age gap, and our Dutch players are a mess, throw a in a few Eastern Blockers and you have a footballing chemistry nightmare. The foundation of this club has always been the Primavera, developing players of every nationality, to contribute to the Rossoneri, now we loan out players, lose track, and ultimately lose out on talent that could have been nurtured as it was only a decade or so ago. I would go as far as to propose that every dollar Milan spend on the transfer market should be matched on the Primavera, and that the Club and fans stop desperately clawing at silverware that is out of reach! Commit to youth in all aspects while using veterans to guide and support that youth. Pato, De Vito, Abate, Strasser, Verdi, Albertazzi, Antonini, Aadiyah, Flamini and Silva are the 5-10 year future of this Club, let’s see what they are made of and give them a run out, if they suck then we abandon ship and try it again.

3. The Club and fans are obsessed with Legacy.

Yes, I am guilty, I admit it. I stare longingly at Maldini Monday’s wishing Paolo was still playing LB, I watch Milan Classics on GolTV, and I scour youtube for videos of the glory days, but now that I have admitted it, I can start the road to recovery, right? OK one more...

Leo’s Milan doesn’t have Paolo, but it has had some classic moments (beating Madrid, tasting the top of Serie A), and in the end it deserves our support. So while we can be hard on players, and this goes for me as well, in the end claiming a guy like Antonini will "never be World Class" is not going to get us anywhere! In fact the idea that a team can be full of World Class players is just as ludicrous, a topic that I will cover more in depth in the future, but in the end we have to accept that the Club is rebuilding. We the fans have to accept this fact and in turn success may not come quickly or even as readily as it once did, and we need to maintain a small shred of faith in the brass who helped us get here in the first place. This may even be contrary to what I said in section 1, but Fester and Co. can correct this problem, they just have to get back down to basics. It is important to note that as fans we hope the Club makes comparable concessions, no need to keep players on year after year as a thank you, send them a Rolex instead! We don’t need to resign Dida at close to 4M a year when Storari could have been the backup for less than 1M!

So with Bologna on the weekend, this Club either embraces the future full swing, or will be forever stuck right here, and I am not sure about you, but right here isn't good enough right now!

I know this little rant may spark some discussion, and I hate to have to explicitly state this, but please remember that everything I said here is my PERSONAL opinion, and if you want to lambast my opinion, I ask that you please offer yours as well, so I can be afforded the exact same luxury.