Milan's signing of Maldini will signal a big shift in the Rossoneri's season
AC Milan has had a turbulent transfer season with their administrative side being in a complete mess. U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management had assumed control of the club after it’s Chinese owner Li Yonghong failed to repay a €32million debt.
Fears for the club grew after such happenings but it is safe to say that the Americans have been able to come up with a credible project for the Italian giants. Testament of their commitment to the club can be seen in their recruitment plan on and off the pitch.
The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara is a boost for the club as this is a move for the future. Significantly this transfer move was engineered by former Milan coach and recently appointed sporting director, Leonardo, whose employment by the Americans was a stroke of genius.
But the biggest coup of them all has been Paolo Maldini. Il Capitano had been the symbol of Milan for more than a decade and when he retired many thought he would assume a role within the club similar to Javier Zanetti or Francesco Totti, for their respective clubs.
Alas, his fractious relationship with Adriano Galliani and the lack of credibility from the Chinese owners kept him away from the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza for a painful nine years. Fans could only look from afar and wonder what if their one of their favourite footballing sons had been in the club, maybe his poise and rational sense could have set Milan’s compass back on the right path.
When Maldini gave his press conference on the day of his unveiling, many felt it was like the 18 time Scudetto winners had signed a new player but of an old face. The hashtag MaldiniDay made its rounds on social media and indeed it was a proud day for Rossoneri fans.
His influence on the team will be felt immediately especially on the Italians. But what Maldini can bring is guidance for the club be it on or off the field. After all this is a man who led Milan for with gravitas for most part of his career and is business savvy. He had beaten David Beckham to the Miami market, launching his new NASL club Miami FC first.
Milan will experience a shift in fortunes with Maldini on board. This is a man who will exert his own authority and will put the club’s interest first before anyone. There is no doubt Maldini will defend the Rossoneri colours like he did on the field. Maldini is Milan and Milan is Maldini. There are no two ways around this.
I recall when the respected Sir Alex Ferguson had thought about signing the defender, he got a stern response from the late Cesare Maldini who exclaimed;
“My grandfather is Milan, my father is, I am Milan, my sons are Milan. Forget it'."