AC Milan’s Italian striker Fabio Borini (R) reacts to the granting of a penalty leading to Arsenal’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second-leg football match between Arsenal and AC Milan at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO
Dubai businessman Saeed Al-Falasi is reported to be interested in buying Italian giants AC Milan as the club struggles with debts under new Chinese owner Li Yonghong, according to reports on Thursday.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Al-Falasi, owner of the International Triangle group, was among those interested in taking over the former European giants.
There is also interest from a United States-based fund and a Russian consortium led by the minority shareholder of Arsenal, the billionaire of Uzbek origin Alisher Usmanov, according to La Repubblica.
International Triangle, a group of companies which deals with real estate, construction and general trading, was established by Al-Falasi.
There have been questions about the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn) last April, spending more than 200 million euros on new players in the summer.
The seven-time European champions have a massive loan for repayment and are in trouble with Financial Fair Play restrictions, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) given the mandate to refinance debts.
AC Milan are working to refinance more than 300 million euros in high-interest loans from US hedge fund Elliott Management. If the club is not able to refinance by next October the US hedge fund will seize control of the club.
Gazzetta also reported that European football’s governing body UEFA could be ready to grant AC Milan an extension on the deadline for their settlement agreement with Financial Fair Play.
A meeting with UEFA has been set for next month and if the club’s debt has not been refinanced by then they could be excluded from European competition.
And Milan CEO Marco Fassone, however, reassured fans on the club’s financial siutation.
“The club is relaxed, then there are a series of rumours doing the rounds, but we are accustomed to them even before the closing of the takeover,” he told Sky Sports Italia.
“We are relatively optimistic, the refinancing will be completed and the rapport with both Yonghong Li and Elliott Management are very good. Everyone is calm on the club’s future.
“UEFA will want to have reassurances on the consistency of the club, I am convinced that I have what it takes to reassure them. We will have sufficient elements to guarantee a good future for Milan.”
AC Milan’s fortunes on the pitch have improved under new coach Gennaro Gattuso as they sit six points off the Champions League places in Serie A.
They will play the Italian Cup final against Juventus in Rome on May 9.
But they exited the Europa League on Thursday night with a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
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