Morning Editorial: AC Milan Are On The Rise Again After Years In The Cold
Milan haven’t generated this much excitement among their supporters since the acquisition of Ronaldinho almost a decade ago. They’ve been busier than any club in Europe, completing as many as seven new signings at a total cost of €154 million. In some respects, it has been reminiscent of former owner Silvio Berlusconi’s first summer or Chelsea’s inaugural transfer window under Roman Abramovich: a transformational summer without lulls, in which every day brings with it news of another deal that’s either done or close to being done.
Take last week, for example. In addition to announcing the signing of Andrea Conti, one of the most exciting young defenders in Serie A last season, Milan mended their fences with Mino Raiola and reportedly crucially reached an agreement with Gigio Donnarumma, the club’s goalkeeping sensation, over a new four-year contract, which was the number one priority for the summer. And as if that wasn’t enough already, news filtered through on Thursday night that Milan haven’t given up hope of bringing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the club.
A deal for the underrated Nikola Kalinic at a fraction of the expense seems a much more realistic possibility, but that’s beside the point. Milan have captured the imagination with the business they have done and still promise to do. Their fans are daring to dream again. Five thousand turned up at Milanello for the first day of preseason, and the atmosphere at their open training session felt louder and more raucous than some of the competitive matches they played at San Siro towards the end of the Berlusconi era. “The new club has our trust,” a banner proclaimed, which must be of great satisfaction to chief executive Marco Fassone. Clearly Milan have not only bought players in the past month, they’ve acquired credibility.
Milan are making up for lost time. In the windows when Inter splurged the euros on Joao Mario, Gabigol, Antonio Candreva, Banega and Roberto Gagliardini, they could hardly do anything. Their hands were tied. Then there’s the fact that they need to get almost all of their recruitment done early so Vincenzo Montella can best prepare the team for its Europa League preliminaries. Finally, after too long in the wilderness, it looks like Milan are on their way back. About time, too.