Straight from the dark heart of Italy
The bigwigs of AC Milan met up with Barcelona’s decision makers yesterday at a restaurant that Woody Allen frequented during his stay in the city filming Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
No doubt the one-liners were flying back and forth between Adriano Galliani and Barca president Sandro Rosell before an attack of neurosis set in as the diners failed to get past ordering the hors d’oeuvres.
On the face of it Milan are back in the realms of flights of fancy as they attempt to dupe - sorry - persuade the Catalans to give hand over Zlatan Ibrahimovic and continue to pay the bulk of his wallet-busting €12 million-a-year salary.
However, just like one of Allen’s main characters, do not underestimate Galliani’s ability to get what he wants: he after all apparently convinced Rosell’s predecessor Joan Laporte to cut Manchester City out of the equation and then drop the asking price for Ronaldinho by simply refusing to leave the president’s villa until the deal was done.
Conveniently enough, this time around Milan have been in town to play Barcelona in the Gamper Trophy so Galliani had a ready excuse for claiming he just happened to be in the neighbourhood and thought he would drop in for a chat – not that he really does chats; more like a monologue.
So, Rosell will have to accept that Silvio Berlusconi’s right-hand man will tough it out until he gets what he wants – and that is a big Swede on a flight back to Milan.
Not only that, someone is going to be lighter in pocket and chances are it won’t be the Italians who seem to have a knack of ensuring the figures always add up in their favour.
The move for Ibra has all the makings of a sequel to the Ronaldinho saga where it started with a plea of poverty and ended up with a firework-extravagance unveiling at the San Siro.
No one will be that concerned about the pyrotechnics this time around but Berlusconi will have kept good on his promise to the Rossoneri fans to always bring in a big-name at least once every two seasons – sorry “Prince” it wasn’t you.
Of course, there is a third corner in this “who stands to gain” triangle and that is the player’s agent Mino Raiola who seems to be doing everything possible to drive a wedge between his client and Barca coach Pep Guardiola although Ibra has been weighing in as well, claiming he hasn’t spoken to his coach for six months.
Even though he has ruled out a loan deal, Raiola may have to accept that in the long term it is the only way he is going to beat the house with what will be a weaker hand with every passing year.
There is still some more filthy lucre to be wrung out of the situation as Milan will have some readies available next summer when nine mega-contracts at the club come to an end.
If Ibra produces the goods this season then his 30s can still be lucrative years with a four-year contract waiting to be signed.
Then, of course, there is overcoming the thorny issue of that giant elephant in the room – 12m big ones – and no one in their right mind is going to take a massive pay-cut when they have no reason to do so.
Galliani will be standing there cap in hand claiming fiscal woes in the hope that Barcelona will continue to pay half of the player’s salary with the promise of a ‘good price’ in the offing when it comes to making the move permanent.
Maybe Barcelona will be thinking that Milan will want them to carry the player all the way to Italy as well – and you never know they may end up doing so just to get rid of Galliani.
More from Serie Aaaaargh!
Am I the only one who thinks Zlatan would be under some pressure from Nerazzurri supporters who kept faith with him despite his eccentric style of forward play?
Having said that FCB could do without a player unlikely to play as much while siphoning a huge wage. Or half of it anyway.
It's a nice idea you present but for a variety of reasons we have very little nostalgia concerning Ibra.
1. He has always been a mercenary and even his body language suggests it.
2. He never loved Inter and wanted to leave as soon as things got stale for him.
3. He often performed very poorly in big games.
4. The sale of him funded the acquisition of the 6 players who were necessary for the Triplete victories, players who have gone out of their way to endear themselves to us.
5. It is clear the only system in which he can operate effectively is one that is based around him (Inter for his first couple years). Unfortunately, this system is quite easy for good teams to neutralize.
At the end, every team (except Juve who went to B) he has played for has been better off after he left. For us Interista, it is like an ex-girlfriend who was sexy as hell, but was also selfish and treated you like crap. But now you have a girlfriend who is super hot but also treats you right. All you can think is how naive you were when you didn't know and you just laugh at your old self for not knowing any better (and you feel sorry for the guy who now has to put up with your ex's bullshit).
Do you understand?
I get what you mean.
I miss FCB having Eto'o...Guardiola made a huge mistake letting him go.
Mourinho will no doubt find a way to fleece FCB yet again in the derbies this season.
He's not what Milan need. Still, that hasn't stopped them signing others they didn't need either, I suppose. All common sense seems to have evaporated at this once great club. Yes, he is a far more gifted player than Huntelaar or Borriello, but he is also a waster, who vanishes in big games when he is needed most. For Berlusconi, this is just a gimmick to get the woeful season ticket sales up. Hopefully Milan fans don't fall for it.
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