Leonardo played down rumours and delivered; AC Milan’s greatest addition

At the time of writing, AC Milan are just details away from securing the operation involving Bonucci, Caldara and Higuain, which will see the latter two join the Rossoneri. 

However, to understand the importance of this deal, we need to take it from the beginning. Just 20 days ago, former AC Milan owner Yonghong Li defaulted on his loan, thus allowing American hedge fund Elliott to step in and take control of the club.

At this point, the situation of the club was more or less chaotic, having previously received a ban from UEFA, stopping them from competing in the Europa League. Fans expected the new owners, Elliott, to treat the club like just another business opportunity, potentially selling the club almost straight away. However, the hedge fund had other ideas, luckily so for Milan.

Releasing an ensuring statement at the time of the takeover, Milan fans soon realised that a plan had been laid out for the club’s future, and not just for the short term.

“Elliott’s vision for AC Milan is straightforward: to create financial stability and establish sound management; to achieve long-term success for AC Milan by focusing on the fundamentals and ensuring that the club is well-capitalized, and to run a sustainable operating model that respects UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations,” part of the statement read.

Straight away, Elliott provided the reassurance and documents necessary for CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) to overturn the Rossoneri’s Europa League ban. Furthermore, the hedge fund also replaced the board of directors, whilst calling for the immediate exit of CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli.

Many, including the Curva Sud, criticised the decision to terminate Mirabelli’s contract, as there had been rumours that Leonardo would be his successor. The Curva described the latter as a ‘traitor’, having been the manager of Inter for a brief spell.

Despite some of the fans’ anger, Elliott went ahead with their plan, appointing Leonardo six days ago. This, along with the entrance of Eliott, should be described as Milan’s best addition this summer.

During his press conference, Leonardo decided to lay low, playing down most of the questions regarding the transfer market. This, unlike Fassone and Mirabelli, who constantly teased the fan base with potential ‘surprises’ that never arrived. In fact, Leonardo even stated that: “We have a big weight on the budget, which makes it difficult to insert big names.”

However, just six days into his Milan adventure, the Brazilian has (almost) managed to secure one of the greatest deals that the Rossoneri have ever completed, reminding us of when Galliani brought Ibrahimovic to San Siro for just €20m.

AC Milan will sign Gonzalo Higuain on loan for €18m, while there’s an option to buy included, valued at €36m. Even though the Argentinian is almost 32-years-old, it’s still a good deal for perhaps the best striker in the league (bar Ronaldo).

Furthermore, in exchange for 31-year-old Bonucci, Milan will get one of the best Italian defensive talents in Mattia Caldara, who along with Romagnoli will represent a bright future for the Rossoneri’s defence. In other words, Leonardo’s AC Milan spell couldn’t have started in a better way, having already silenced the critics, while demonstrating that the San Siro side’s future is in safe hands.

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