The dawn of a new era that would return the San Siro club to the elite of both Italian and European football was being hailed when it was first revealed back in August that Berlusconi would be selling Milan to Chinese investors.
The fact €200m has already been paid suggests this won’t be another ‘Mr Bee’ Taechaubol scenario where fans and media are taken for a ride. Berlusconi’s pledge – or was it a threat? – to take back control and create a young, Italian-based team if the Chinese investors pulled out had many supporters starting to panic. When you’ve been burned before, seeing the same pattern developing is bound to create more than 365bet平台开户a few doubts in your mind.
The official completion of the deal, though initially scheduled to be happening this month, will have to wait until next spring, but the news that Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest holding company have received a further €100m deposit from their prospective buyers represents another step on the road to the Rossoneri potentially becoming a major force once again.
Unfortunately, the delay of the closing until March means that fresh funds will not be available for lavish January transfer window spending after all. The €100m is going to Berlusconi, not to be spent on new players, and Montella is going to have to continue performing miracles with a squad assembled on a tiny budget.
Eight of Milan’s 18 Serie A titles have been won on Berlusconi’s watch, while in Europe the club have come to stand head and shoulders above their domestic rivals. During the 80-year-old’s time in charge, five European Chg008ups have been secured, establishing Milan as a globally-followed club and securing Berlusconi’s legacy.
However, that summer enthusiasm was then replaced by doubt. Reports of false bank guarantees, a lack of clarification as to who the investors actually are, delays to the confirmation of the takeover – now scheduled for March – and CEO Adriano Galliani playing down the prospect of big name January signings have combined to raise questions as to whether Sino-Europe really do mean business.
If the former Roma boss can keep his side in the top three come May, it would provide the new Sino-Europe era at San Siro with the perfect springboard for the future – and the old one of Berlusconi with an unexpectedly happy ending.
Tuesday’s announcement confirming the Sino-Europe Sports group had paid the next instalment in their takeover of Milan was a welcome sign of progress in a deal that was beginning to look more questionable by the week.
Despite a barren few final years and his highly controversial life outside football, it is clear that the outgoing President is well thought of and appreciated by former players, Coaches and officials to have worked with him.
The promises made were lavish. Debts totalling around €220m were to be wiped out, while the new owners would be obliged to invest €350m on transfers over a three-year time frame – starting in January’s transfer window. It appeared that after several years of stagnation both on and off th博狗吧e pitch, Milan were finally set for some fresh impetus.
The 30-year reign of Berlusconi really does seem to be going towards the closing credits. When it does, the former Italian Prime Minister will leave in the knowledge that he has presided over the most successful period in the Rossoneri’s history.
In the meantime, the saving grace for all the doubt and non-activity off the pitch at Milan has been the football on it. After three seasons of abject mediocrity, League finishes of eighth, 10th and seventh and the hiring and firing of multiple Coaches, Vincenzo Montella has the Rossoneri back in contention for a Champions League place, despite the setback of Monday evening’s defeat to Roma.