The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Italian giants AC Milan, Marco Fassone has expressed doubts about winning the Italian Serie A title this season despite spending over €200m on new recruits in the transfer window this summer.
AC Milan have spent a lot of money on players like Leonardo Bonucci; Ricardo Rodriguez, Andre Silva, Frank Kessie and many more but the club executive has played down the hype around the team with the San Siro outfit already seen as potential champions by many followers of Italian football.
Marco Fassone described his team’s chances of winning the league this season as “almost impossible” though he added that: “I leave the door open to anything”.
Speaking during a lengthy interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Fassone said: “As a Milan man, I need to think about that.”
“As a director, I must not deceive with promises. Rationally, it’s almost impossible in the first year. But then in football irrationality is an ever-present component.
“So I leave the door open to anything…” he stated further
He also talked about the financial plan of the new owners in detail including the role of US hedge fund Elliott Management.
Fassone said: “The new journey has started and the perception is one of major change on every front. I’m more of a managerial example than a sporting one.
“Next week the financial director will take office, and with him the first level of management will be complete. It’s not easy to do it in 100 days.
“In fact I feel a little tired, I’ve been working for 20 hours every day, but I have to say it’s flown by and I feel very satisfied. We’ve done what we had in mind and a little bit more.
“Elliott? It’s simple, on their part there are periodic checks on the club accounts, which will begin in November with a bi-monthly schedule.
“Of course there’s the risk of default, as there always is in these cases, but I consider that a very hypothetical event, not least because I think it’s a debt which can be re-financed fairly easily.
“In almost no club I’ve been at have I seen such a sequence of capital increases. That means that the owner believes so much in this creature and wants to recapitalise.
“These are injections which give oxygen and increase the assets. The shareholders’ meeting also approved a long-term capital increase, which calms directors and fans.
“President Yonghong Li? He and the executive director, Han Li, intend to run this club as a management family. They don’t see employees, but a group of people wedded to a long-term project of trust.
“They make you feel like one of them.
“In the meantime, I’d like to emphasise our new communication strategy, we’ve chosen a way of talking directly to people, via social media, in real time.
“At first I could feel skepticism, now there’s passion and euphoria. In the first four days, we sold 5,000 season tickets.
“We also need to plan in far-off countries, where there are so many potential Milan fans. Milan China, our subsidiary, will start very shortly.
“In our five-year plan, we expect to go from our current €200m turnover to between €400m and €500m.
“Stadium excluded obviously, there’s everything inside: the Champions League, TV rights, commercial revenues in China.
“Let’s say that by 2022, if we want to talk about objectives, it would be great to have Milan among the top five clubs in the world.
“Elsewhere, the sponsorship wheels are still turning, next week we’ll announce a top-level sponsorship. Companies are focusing more on us.
“Then in 2018-19, being floated on an Oriental stock exchange is one of the most likely scenarios.
“As for the stadium, there are three of us who need to agree: ourselves, Inter and the city.
“At the beginning of August we’ll see each other again, but we don’t know if we’ll take the road to San Siro or our own stadium. At the moment we consider them both to be available to travel.
“We definitely want to get to the end of the season with an approved project.”
This summer’s spending spree could affect Financial Fair Play though…
“We’re grateful to UEFA [for the voluntary agreement]. We’ve put forward other plans, ensuring we’ll present concrete things in the Autumn and not just projects.
“The voluntary agreement will give us a year to breathe.
“Where do I see myself in two-and-a-half years? I see myself with the Champions League music, with a run-in phase completed, so I see trophies being lifted and talk of the Scudetto.
“At the same time, I see growth and economic health. The 2019-20 season is the one to break even, in the next one we’ll start paying out some small dividends.” he concluded.