Maldini diplomacy, a clear transfer strategy and a special agent scout

Maldini diplomacy, a clear transfer strategy and a special agent scout

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25 May 2022
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In August, few believed in the championship of Milan. The champion was inferior to competitors in almost everything, except for the main thing: solidity and thoughtfulness of work. Milan’s Scudetto is a managerial miracle and a loud signal to the rest of the Italian tops. While competitors build their work on friendship with agents and impulsive decisions, the red-blacks balance between a limited budget and big ambitions in the most modern way – with the help of a consistent strategy and a clear understanding of the required qualities. Milan, along with Atalanta, are the only Italian clubs with clear and unconventional transfer ideas. The championship team is assembled so that each performer corresponds to the gaming identity and benefits Pioli – no matter if it’s a star or not. All this is the merit of the Milan supertrio. It does not take off its jackets and enter the field, but it provides a critical difference compared to the competition. It is called MMM: Maldini, Massara, Moncada.

Maldini created the club’s development strategy. It strikes the perfect balance between savings, profit and ambition.

Ironically, Milan’s rise began five years ago, in the spring of 2017, when Yonghon Lee bought the club. In the first transfer window, the Chinese spent about 200 million euros. The roster instantly sparkled with a starry luster. But the results only got worse. The newcomers represented different types of play – it was impossible to make a synergistic playing team out of them. Market glitters don’t guarantee wins, that was the main takeaway from Lee’s short trip. The new owner took this into account. Instead of transfer expansion, Elliott has invested in intelligence. The Americans brought Ivan Gazidis and James Murray from Arsenal, lured Joffre Moncada, the scout who discovered Mbappe, from Monaco, and persuaded former Roma director Frederic Massara. They became the foundation of a new era. The first and most important acquisition was Paolo Maldini. To draw him in, the bosses expanded the staff with an optional position – director of strategic development. And it worked. It was Maldini who was responsible for the restructuring of the club. He picked up a team of top managers, formed new principles of existence and a long-term plan for the renaissance.

For starters, Milan accepted the fact that he is no longer a financial super-predator and will not pull the market auctions. Based on this, the club has formed solid transfer laws:

  1. Do not spend money on players over 26;
  2. Do not inflate the payroll: players who are not of systemic importance to the team do not receive a serious promotion;
  3. Develop players by creating added value and earning on resale;
  4. Buy in markets where Milan can still dominate.

The next step was to create a new identity. The connection with the city as one of the largest cultural centers of the planet was taken as a basis.

“When you are in commercial negotiations and competing with other clubs, it is important to show your own uniqueness. You need a story that goes beyond football,” explained Milan chief of staff James Murray. “We decided to associate the brand with Milan and with everything related to fashion, art and entertainment. Such a brand weighs much more than just football.”  We started from the simplest: weaving elements of urban architecture into the design of T-shirts – for example, the pattern of the glass roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. At the same time, they invested in the team. Milan hired marketers who were not connected with the world of football at all – representatives of the fashion industry, e-commerce and entertainment.

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