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Inter Milan ownership rebuff talk of club sale

Suning Group issues statement that no sale talks happening.

Italian Football Federation 'Panchine D'Oro E D'Argento' Prize
Luciano Spalletti manager of Internazionale FC during the ‘Golden Bench’ award at Coverciano on March 26, 2018 in Florence, Italy. Spalletti’s future with Inter is still undecided amid recent club departures and financial questions.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Apparently, when it rains it pours in terms of potential bad news for Inter Milan.

Recently, the Italian daily newspaper Corriera della Sera said Inter’s owners, the Suning Group based in China, had started entertaining offers to sell the club with a €600 million price tag.

It all came on the heels of Fabio Capello, manager of Jiangsu Suning, and Walter Sabatini, technical director for both Jiangsu and Inter Milan, both stepping down from their respective posts.

FC Torino v FC Internazionale - Serie A
FC Internazionale board member Steven Zhang Kangyang looks on prior to he Serie A match between FC Torino and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on March 18, 2017 in Turin, Italy.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Early Thursday, the ownership group issued a statement suggesting there are no talks regarding a sale of the club:

“In regards to the recent newspaper reports, we would like to make it clear that we have never considered selling Inter Milan. At the moment, our only focus is on the Serie A championship,” the statement said, as reported by Calciomercato.com.

Additionally, Steven Zhang, son of Inter Milan owner Jindong Zhang, posted a statement on his Instagram account that continued to deny reports of a potential sale.

“I guess some people just don’t understand whatever confusion they make,” Steven Zhang wrote. “It would never stop us to move forward [sic], to fight, to spread our black and blue passion for great things around the world. Fellow Nerazzurri, Stay focused! Don’t let negativity get us down.”

The club has recently come under fire for its financial statements suggesting the team was continuing to pay for overspending from years’ past. The report found that Inter’s negative net equity increased by €29 million to €83.41 million in a 12-month period ending June 30, 2017.

It has been suggested one of the reasons Sabatini resigned was due to Suning Group’s belt-tightening, especially during the January mercato and what is perceived to be continued penny-pinching in the upcoming summer transfer season.

A loan from Goldman Sachs is expected to be paid off by October of this year thanks to a bond issuing the club had in December.

The belief is that Suning want Inter to end its financial dependence on loans and bonds and become virtually self-sustaining. In order to accomplish that, the club will have to limit its spending in transfer windows – relying on selling current players to obtain new ones.

UEFA will start to look at Inter’s books in the coming months to determine the club’s compliance with Financial Fair Play rules. If the club fails to meet FFP requirements, it could be subject to a €7 million fine.

Another factor here is with the departure of Sabatini and Capello is the future of Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti.

In a video interview, Sabatini suggested the team keep Spalletti and even offer him a five-year deal, but that could be dependent on whether the Nerazzurri reach the Champions League next season. Currently, Inter sit in fourth place in Serie A – in a Champions League position – but have close competition from Lazio and Milan for that spot.

There has been no discussion on Spalletti’s future if the team fails to earn a Champions League bid or if Inter qualifies for the Europa League. But, many of Inter’s current transfer deals – such as those for Rafinha and Joao Cancelo – could likely only be completed if the team reaches the Champions League.

Milan is also facing potential financial issues as its owner Yongdong Li being reportedly bankrupt – claims he has since denied. Now, Li is reportedly looking for a financial partner to help infuse cash into the club to help remedy its financial situation.

Li has reportedly offered to pay €10 million of a proposed €37 million to help Milan balance their books. Additionally, Li will refuse a second loan from American hedge fund company Elliott who have already lent the club €370 million.

Now, a new company – Vsport – is eyeing that potential partnership. Vsport is a company specializing in sourcing projects to raise funds for sports teams. Interestingly enough, a member of Vsport’s founding partners is former Inter Milan standout Wesley Sneijder, according to a report in La Reppublica.


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