Milan are in a very unique position in the landscape of football. As a sleeping giant showing the first signs of awaking from their extended slumber, Milan cannot simply be allowed to lounge in bed like a teenager on a Saturday morning. Instead, Milan need to be woken up by a loud and noisy alarm. There is no time for Milan to make a slow and steady climb back to the top by investing solely in long-term solutions, and hoping for incremental growth. Milan have to act for the now, because winning today will benefit them tomorrow.
With the Rossoneri finally splashing the cash after years of neglecting the transfer market, Milan need to increase their revenues in order to comply with Financial Fair Play. The most effective way to do this is to win, and to win right now. A squad that is capable of winning in the present is important, as it not only drives fans to the San Siro, but also allows Milan to capitalize on television money from the Europa League, and much more importantly, the Champions League.
It is absolutely imperative for Milan to qualify for the Champions League next season as it is the fastest and most effective way for the club to get a “shot in the arm” as it pertains to revenue. Luckily for the Rossoneri, Champions League qualification will be easier for Serie A teams starting next season. The change in the allotment of Champions League berths will allow the top 4 sides in Serie A to go directly into the group stage, guaranteeing them a significant cheque in the process. Anything less than a top four finish for Milan next season would be a complete and total failure, and could have serious repercussions on future investment on the transfer market.
It appears as though the club realizes the urgency that next season brings as CEO Marco Fassone has gone on the record numerous times to underscore the importance of assembling the squad well in advance, so that they can experience a full preseason under Vincenzo Montella. This mandate is certainly in place in order to minimize the time it takes a team full of new faces to gel and to be as ready as possible for the start of the Serie A season. Despite the fact that this is year one of a long-term project, not much time can be allotted to acclimatization.
Milan’s signings and targets also seem to suggest that the club is focused on winning today. Musacchio, and Rodriguez are established players who should perform from day one, while Andre Silva and to a lesser extent Franck Kessie have proven themselves in major European leagues and should be counted on as contributors, despite their ripe age. Rumored targets such as Nikola Kalinic and Lucas Biglia are older, but they are experienced players who are Serie A proven. While spending big on players hovering around 30 years of age isn’t a smart long term strategy, it is justifiable when one considers how badly Milan need a top 4 finish next season. Milan already have enough youth in their squad, signing youth for the sake of youth is not the way to go, and it’s encouraging that Milan do not appear to be heading down this route. Any signing similar to that of Biglia or Kalinic needs to be assessed with this in mind.
With the threat of Financial Fair Play looming, Milan needs to up their revenues and do so in a hurry. The best way to do this is for Milan to hit the ground running and qualify for the Champions League next season, and this means building a complete and balanced squad that is looked at by pundits as one that should qualify, rather than one that can qualify for football’s premier club competition.
It’s time to wake up and start winning Milan, and no, you cannot hit the snooze button.