Wednesday, 18 July 2012

An Offer Milan Could Not Refuse

It has finally become official. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva have officially become members of Paris Saint-Germain. Silva completed his move over this past weekend while Ibrahimovic made it official today.

Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva

The cost of the dynamic duo? 65 million Euro, an offer the rossoneri could not refuse. A lot of Milan fans will be asking why now? And it's true both players are in fine form, Ibrahimovic has been one of the top strikers in the world for awhile now, and he wins everywhere he goes. While Silva is without a doubt one of the best central defenders on the planet. Which is why many people are puzzled with the sale. I tend to think it's perfect timing. Silvio Berlusconi and the rest of the Milan brass have been very candid when speaking of the clubs financial troubles in recent years. They reported 80 million Euros in losses this past season and had wages of just over 200 million. Thiago and Ibra are not the only ones to leave the San Siro, along with them has been Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Mark Van Bommel, Filippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf, and Gianluca Zambrotta. That is a long list of very recognizable names, but thats just it, aside from Ibra and Silva these were players on their very last legs. Milan has cleared over 40% of their wages with all these players going out, and Ibrahimovic was the main sticking point as he was their highest paid player and the highest paid player in all of Italy at 12 million Euro per season. Milan sold high, and they had to, the main reason being Uefa Financial Fair Play(UFFP) which is kicking into gear this season but will really take effect next season. This will most likely be the final year that teams make huge splashes like PSG and Manchester City before them and Chelsea before them because of the UFFP, which stipulates that teams cannot report losses of 54 million Euro over two years. So this literally was a deal that Milan could not refuse. There is no way that they would have gotten the same price next summer for Thiago Silva. Ibrahimovic would have been entering the final year of his contract and entering his age 32 season putting him on the decline slope. In order to get the books in order these sales had to be made, as failing to adhere to the UFFP rules could result in bans from Champions League or Europa League which is something they could definitely not afford.

Now the question becomes where do they go from here? Rumours were already swirling before the transfers of Ibra and Silva to PSG became official, and the truth is there may be some bargains out there. I'm hoping that they invest in some younger Italians like an Angelo Ogbonna from Torino or a Davide Astori from Cagliari. However, those two would not be much of a bargain as they are young and entering their prime.

Angelo Ogbonna (Torino)

 So the real answer is that they need to go after teams who were in the same situation as they were when PSG came knocking. Teams with extremely excessive wage bills that will need to balance the books a little bit in order to adhere to the UFFP. I'm sure you knew I was leading towards Manchester City, but it's true they have an excess of high-end talent and more importantly an excess of wages. So there are certain players that could be had below market value. Aleksandar Kolarov is an underrated left-back who left the Serie A (Lazio) not too long ago for greener pastures but has never cemented a first team place at City. A proven Serie A player who can be had for around 6 or 7 million Euro. Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez have also been linked to Milan however the latter would be a poor choice in my opinion as his wage demands will not waver too far from what Ibrahimovic demanded. Dzeko would be a fine choice his physical style could work extremely well in the Serie A and Milan would be wise to take a hard look at him. Dimitar Berbatov and Robin Van Persie have also been linked to the club, and while Van Persie may be a good choice there may be a small bidding war for him leading me to believe he may not be much of a bargain. While Berbatov will be 32 in January, meaning he won't be much more than a band-aid solution. They could look within the Serie A where youngster Mattia Destro is garnering plenty of attention, but looks to be on his way to the Italian capital. My point is they have options now, and one of Milan's biggest troubles in recent years was squad depth, this is a problem that can be rectified with this new influx of money and relief in the wage structure. I just hope they choose to find some Italian players to fill the gaps rather than go elsewhere like they have in recent years.

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)

Milan fans should not be upset this was a necessary move that the team had to make. With the relief in wages along with the transfer fee a new wave of talent can be bought. Younger, hungrier players who will work hard. A strategy Milan's bitter rivals Juventus implemented last season that worked very well. Milan is a great team and the great teams always find a way through in hard times. The Rossoneri will bring in a new wave of talent, that will continue to help them in the Serie A. In closing I liken the sales of Ibrahimovic and Silva to the sale of Zidane by Juventus years ago, with the money Juventus recieved in that transfer they went on to buy Lilian Thuram, Pavel Nedved and Gianluigi Buffon. Change is not always a bad thing.

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