Milan and Genoa have unofficially struck up an increasingly amicable business agreement that has seen a number of players move between the sides in recent times. Club supremos Adriano Galliani and Enrico Preziosi appear to meet on a regular basis, with the Scudetto holders seemingly, albeit not officially, having first refusal on players from the Stadio Luigi Ferraris who may have the potential to move to the next level. Similarly, players on the outskirts of the Giuseppe Meazza first-team are being farmed out to the less prestigious of the two sides to gain match experience.
The issue of joint ownership is one that has emerged, as in many of the deals agreed by the clubs, both parties share player rights. This seems to be a measure used by Milan to allow them to easily bring a player back to the San Siro if he excels, and for Genoa to participate in transfer deals without having to splurge their transfer budget.
Kevin-Prince Boateng was snapped up by Genoa after an impressive World Cup showing, and in an odd move, loaned to Milan. The move was initially on a temporary basis, but the German born midfielder made 34 appearances for Massimiliano Allegri’s side in 2010/11, and a full transfer to the champions was agreed in May. Marco Amelia signed for Milan on loan from the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in June 2010 following 30 appearances for the Rossoblu, and the deal was made permanent last month. The 29-year-old is now a back up for first choice Christian Abbiati, and the ex-Roma stopper’s stock went up by gaining first-team experience in Liguria.
Stephan El Shaarawy may be a name unfamiliar to fans with only a passing interest in Italian football, but the Rossoneri have earlier this month finalised a co-ownership deal to purchase 50% of the player’s rights for €10m. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder of Italian-Egyptian descent has only made three top flight appearances, but impressed in a loan spell with Serie B side Padova last season and will look to further his footballing education with the Scudetto holders after progressing through the Genoa youth system.
Kakha Kaladze moved from Milan to Genoa in August 2010 for an undisclosed fee, as the 33-year-old found opportunities with the Milanese club waning after nine seasons of service. Sokratis Papastathopoulos has bounced between the two sides, and signed for Milan after 51 appearances for Genoa between 2008 and 2010 for a fee believed to be around €14m. However, only a percentage of the transfer fee was paid in cash – the remainder was recuperated by Preziosi by securing half of the player rights for Milan’s Rodney Strasser, Gianmarco Zigoni and Nnamdi Oduamadi. The Greece international found first-team football opportunities a rarity in 2010/11, and is now back at Genoa.
Alexander Merkel is a German youth player with plenty of promise, who Milan snatched from the youth system of Stuttgart back in 2009. The now 19-year-old midfielder, despite promising much, could not oust the older heads in Allegri’s starting XI, and this month Genoa have bought half his rights and will have him at their disposal for next season.
It should also be noted that besides the fringe players cited in the Papastathopoulos transfer, Giacomo Beretta, Andrea Ganz and Alberto Paloschi also have shared ownership between the two clubs.
Both sides are clearly prospering from the current arrangement, with Milan having the chance to snap up any players that outgrow the Genoa pool, and the smaller club’s Serie A status being protected by talent heading in their direction from the Giuseppe Meazza. However, the deals seem to generally favour the bigger club, as they will beat their rivals to the signing of any players that are ready for the step up, whilst at the same time improving their own fringe players by giving them first-team football. Any deal with part-ownership looks to benefit Milan, as if a player such as Alexander Merkel does well at Genoa and improves adequately, he can bought back at a lesser fee than if a full transfer has been previously arranged.
The future promises to see a continuation of the unofficial ‘feeder club’ agreement, with rumours linking Genoa’s Juraj Kucka with an upgrade after he picked up a man of the match award against Milan in February, and due to the size of the Serie A champions’ squad do not be surprised to see a plethora of non-first teamers making their way south in search of minutes in the future.