Friday July 20 2018
Milan’s Champions League ambitions

Though the competition for Serie A’s four allotted Champions League spots will be tightly contested, it will remain Milan’s ambition in 2018-19, writes Matthew Santangelo.

After coming up short in their attempt to qualify for top four in 2017-18, despite a second half surge under Gennaro Gattuso, Milan will look to get off on the right foot this upcoming season and press on for Champions League football.

That won’t be an easy task though, with Unibet currently offering odds of 4/1 for the Diavolo to crack the top three. Even though the Rossoneri’s current ownership situation under Elliot Management may not seem all that ideal for the club’s future, it appears that at the very least they are in much better hands with the hedge fund than they were at any point during the shady, short-lived reign of Yonghong Li.

While the Italian giants await a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport on their Europa League ban, Elliot officials are working behind the scenes to assemble a technical staff that exudes a more positive and healthy feeling amongst on-edge supporters. Whether CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli remain in their respective roles remains to be seen, as rumours circulate in the Italian media that Elliott may clean house to usher in new ideas and strategies.

Without question, Milan require serious action on the transfer front despite last summer’s spending spree north of €200 million. The main areas in need of reinforcement included adding depth in the midfield, improve the quality in wider areas and the everlasting top priority since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic – a prolific striker.

Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata and Ciro Immobile are the names that have been floating around the news wire to spearhead Gattuso’s attack. Even with the young, homegrown bomber Patrick Cutrone catching fire in 2017-18, it is of paramount importance that the Como-native is supported with a veteran to shoulder the attacking workload that both Nikola Kalinic failed to do. However, the assumption is that Milan will not see the same lofty investment they enjoyed last summer, meaning the market must be funded through sales - or a big star’s departure like captain Leonardo Bonucci.

The Italian defender’s agent Alessandro Lucci reportedly had conversations with Paris Saint-Germain over a possible move from the fashion capital, which would be a blow to Milan’s backline even if it turns out to benefit the books. But regardless of which players stay, go, or arrive, the club are led by a true general in Rino Gattuso who simply will not let the mercato determine how prepared his side will be for the upcoming campaign and what they aspire for.

After the Italian commander took over midway through the previous campaign, we saw a motivated and inspired Rossoneri who rose from the depths to flirt with a top four finished before subsequently fizzling out late. Gattuso’s ambitions as manager will be to press on and chase a coveted 4th place spot no matter what, simply because it’s his duty to not let matters beyond his control deter Milan from challenging for targeted objectives.

Most would agree, Milan are lagging behind city rivals Inter, Roma, Napoli and Juventus and aren’t well-equipped to keep pace in the hunt for European qualification. However, a Gattuso-led Milan will not mail it in and must aim to finish minimum fourth – even if the odds are stacked against them at this current time.

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Have your say...
My feeling has always been in order for Italian football to flourish we need all the top clubs to fire on all cylinders! But this Milan side is just going from deep free falls to newer depths I don't see this season being any better than last season. The morale is low, there is no real money invested on the transfer market. Any sale to fund buys is just going to weaken the club even more. There is just too much turmoil at Milan for them to even flirt with the top four spots.
on the 23rd July, 2018 at 12:53am
I love the children on here getting salty. Beppe Rossi would never be passive against rival clubs in Serie A. Go cry elsewhere, you know nothing about him or the Black And White Fighters.
on the 22nd July, 2018 at 4:58pm
Elliot should get Conte, proven winner with ability to overachieve with limited squad. He’s not a long term solution given that he tends to move on after few years just like mourinho, but Elliot isn’t in it to stay long anyway.
Gattuso has shown that he’s out of his depth toward the end of the season. He’s just like Pioli with Inter the season before. Few winning streaks, choke, then free fall.

Just keep the current players, only sacrifice donnarumma if needed to.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 6:09pm
@Beppe Rossi
Little harsh, considering the corruption and football these days I think Milan were correct to appeal the ridiculous ban!
PSG, m city, and countless others are far far worse than Milan.
On that note I would change my name if was you, you are tarnishing the great name with your stupidity.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 2:19pm
As a life long Milan fan I am so fed up of the 'new era'- every failed year leads to another new era!
We need to invest correctly, we don't need 20 new players a season, we need 5-6 world class players and then invest in the youth system.
We definitely don't need unproven youth from around the world, it doesn't work so bring in proven talent and mix that with our own youth players.
There is no way on lords Earth anyone can tell me didn't have a better youth player than Silva, the lists endless
on the 21st July, 2018 at 2:15pm
@ Viktor

1) I ain’t no fan of either Ronaldo Messi or Neymar
2) I’ve been a Juve fan since 1994
3) Juventus have always been the biggest club in Italy, you want to use Milan 7 CL to Juve 2 as proof you guys are close or “bigger” child please. We have played in almost the same amount of CL finals appearances. And the first club to win all UEFA competition back in the 80’s before sugar daddy Silvio even attempted to purchase Milan.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 1:42pm
Milan have spent nearly as much as Juve the past 5 seasons and are in the negatives for transfers for over -295mil euros.

Juve -350mil euros, and Juve are only that high because of C.Ronaldo recently.

Inter -150mil euros net transfers.

The only one who are breaking the rules in Serie A are Milan and they got punished for it.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 9:43am
@Toby, counting only the time Milan under Gattuso, Milan are in top 4. Try to read more. And @Beppe Rossi, I believe the real Beppe Rossi will prefer his name not used by you. Milan only asking for justice. Milan indeed not really respect FFP on past seasons, but PSG and Inter did the same without the same punishment. Looks like UEFA punish Milan just because of Li. Milan never begging to anyone.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 5:38am
Has anyone read Li's message today? Sad. I wouldn't put such actions beyond those vultures, the guy at least showed some commitment to our ambitions by splashing out, nobody wants to lose such an outlay, so something is up here. I have a feeling Fassone&Mirabelli had an arrangement with Eliot to make sure the 1st year registers such a loss, overspending on losers. equally shady is the decision of UEFA being overturned as soon as Eliot took over, whatever the outcome, this is a bad period for ACM
on the 21st July, 2018 at 5:26am
Current Milan reminds me of post-Calciopoli Juventus, 07-11, the dark years featuring players like Tiago Poulsen, Molinaro and Grygera. Except, we had an excuse for being in such a bad spot but through resilience and smart signings, look at Juventus now. Smarten up Milan fans, we came back from ROCK BOTTOM and are enjoying the fruits of our labour and karma. The last thing we fear is a has-been club being handled like a ... I'll stop.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 1:28am
@Beppe Rossi

Yup we begged and it worked, pretty much as it worked for your entire family
on the 20th July, 2018 at 10:34pm
@LOL Milan fans

A. How the F are Juve the biggest club in Italy through history and B. Lucky in CL final??? We lost to a 3 nil lead against Pool in in Istanbul. We gave it away but lucky in history, what the hell are you talking about.

These kids this days are all about Neymar, Ronaldo, and Messi.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 10:32pm
Celebrating that they miraculously avoided being banned from Europa league after begging on your hands and knee's to
on the 20th July, 2018 at 7:21pm
2006 - Juve relegated to serie b, lost a handful of top players to rival teams, experienced damaging results in terms of brand and image.

2018 -7 consecutive scudetti, 4 consecutive CI, multiple CL finalists. Emerging as a global brand. Just signed one of the best players to have played the sport.

never in its 100+ year history, signed a current ballon dor player.

For milan to be better, they need to hit rock bottom. Blow it up and sell everyone over 21 and conte 2020

From an inter support
on the 20th July, 2018 at 5:51pm
As a Milanisti, these past several years have been painful to watch. We went from senile Silvio to shady Li. I honestly would have preferred Barbara, but that's just not how the cards worked out. I had my doubts about Ringhio, despite the fact that he's one of my favourite players of all time, due to looking at his track record and not seeing anything that would lead me to believe he's capable. However, I won't get too hopeful until I see how he does over a full season.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 5:10pm
Juve fear Milan??? LMAO Idc that you guys have more CL titles you guys are mostly lucky in the finals unlike Juve. But make no mistake about it Juve is and will always be the biggest club in Italy. That’s like saying Liverpool is bigger than Manchester United because they have more CL that was a good laugh.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 4:05pm
What second half of the season surge?
Montella was fired when Milan was seventh, 18p behind leaders Napoli. Gattuso ended the season in sixth place 31p behind Juve... not exactly a huge improvement...
on the 20th July, 2018 at 3:50pm
I'm an Inter fan and although I did enjoy the slap in the face of all the Milan fans that were incredibly going on about the winning the scudetto last season after changing their whole squad, when it comes down to it, I want a return of the rivalry of years past. Well that and the end of the Juve monopoly. Although it seems Inter are finally taking solid steps towards addressing the latter.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 3:15pm
In all honesty, I find the whole situation with Milan quite sad. Elliot are only looking to turn a profit so whatever stability you get from them is temporary. Then the whole process will start again with whoever buys the club after them (who knows maybe with a loan from Eliot!).

Long road ahead I'm afraid until this club gets anywhere near where it was in the past.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 3:11pm
How deluded can milan fans get...

Milan's not getting much better without a couple of meaningful transfers and meanwhile all around you the other big boys are making real moves on the market smh

At least try and be realistic or you'll just end up disappointed again
on the 20th July, 2018 at 2:54pm
Sure, Elliot are better than Li. But go look up the definition of a hedge fund and tell me how much Elliot 'cares' about the Milanese sporting objectives and fan base
on the 20th July, 2018 at 2:50pm
keep it in mind people, the devil get sick but will never die. This team is a team of devils with a coach named GATTUSO. But this fallen empire has begun to rise again KEEP IT CALM we are here till DEATH.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 2:35pm
Please write a blog on Roma being a selling club so much to be said about that!
on the 20th July, 2018 at 1:53pm
"I can smell the fear from Juventini and Interista about the real Italian heavyweight returning to the top"

Do Milanisti never learn? The comments on here were full of this when the Chinese took over, and whenever FI had a blog or a news story pointout Li was dodgy all the Milan fans went nuts - how'd that work out?
on the 20th July, 2018 at 1:50pm
I think they're a year or so away from being able to qualify for the CL. Of course I hope I'm wrong and can do it this year!!!
on the 20th July, 2018 at 1:42pm
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahah *deep breath Hahahahaahahahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahahaha
on the 20th July, 2018 at 1:09pm
Bonucci wont leave, neither will Gigio. People on here love to hear a story from a suspect source and run with it because its negative about Milan. The only players that will depart will be deadweight like Kalinic.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 12:42pm
Where's everyone who wants to hate on us now?? Elliot have come in and already got us accepted back into Europe, a show of real financial strength. They are reorganising the management and know how to run a business but people commenting here want to tell me my club is finished and they're in it for a quick profit. They clearly have a plan and I can smell the fear from Juventini and Interista about the real Italian heavyweight returning to the top.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 12:39pm
Milan back in Europa league... I suppose that's one positive thing to come out of Elliot Engagement ownership.

Long road ahead tho...

If only that numbskull Li had of sold the club to Commisso things could have gone so much better!
on the 20th July, 2018 at 12:36pm
Lets the hatred begin.. Come on Inter fans here is your chance.
on the 20th July, 2018 at 12:01pm

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