Milan would be mad to say no to £100m, but Kaka would be mad to say yes to the deal.
According to reports, Milan don’t want to sell the 26-year-old striker and say the move would only go ahead if Kaka – who is said to be considering Manchester City’s offer – wanted to go. But, what if both parties are taking the wrong stance in this, with Kaka better off staying and Milan better off with the cash his sale would bring?
Why Kaka should choose to stay
With the emergence of Alexandre Pato, the sale of dud Alberto Gilardino, the return of Rossoneri hero Andriy Shevchenko, and then the arrivals of first Ronaldinho and then Beckham – Kaka is no longer the shining star of the San Siro. He hasn’t necessarily played second fiddle to any of the aforementioned teammates, but the Rossoneri have options beyond their talismanic former World Player of the Year, and are prepared to play around with the tactics to keep everyone happy, not just the number 22.
There were rumblings earlier in the season when Kaka came out in December in criticism of his role in the side alongside compatriot Ronaldinho by saying; “I play too far from the strikers, and too close to the midfielders. This isn’t what I like. Ronaldinho is doing well, but we work best when [Clarence] Seedorf and I are behind one striker… Ronaldinho limits me a little.”
Serie A’s second highest paid player, earning approximately £10.8m a year (behind only Inter’s £11m paid to Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Kaka’s most successful period of his career at the San Siro came when playing in a free, central position just off the main striker, with Seedorf offering width from the left and Milan’s midfield of Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini and Gennaro Gattuso feeding him plenty of passes. This system saw Kaka make his name as a force across Europe, with dazzling displays in the Champions League. With the new wave of attacking options now available to Coach Carlo Ancelotti, Kaka has found himself in a more reserved role for the side, struggling to find his place on the same field as Ronaldinho and co.
A £100m transfer fee would guarantee star status and a starting role for Kaka for at least a season at the City of Manchester Stadium, but it won’t guarantee the Brazilian any kind of form. The world record fee would bring with it a new level of expectation on the player’s shoulders and would see him under the scrutiny of the world’s media.
Kaka may look at his teammates as competition for his crown as King of the San Siro, but he should be looking to them as shining examples that money cannot buy you everything. Shevchenko left Milan in 2006 for a big-money move to Chelsea but came scuttling back when he lost face and form in England, Ronaldinho left a life of luxury in Barcelona to take a pay-cut to move to Milan and is enjoying a great return to his best form and Beckham, for all the millions that LA Galaxy pay him, is seeking competitive football in one of Europe’s top leagues once again. The single reason that has seen this trio end up at Milan to ply their trade is the same reason they found success in the game in the first place. Money wasn’t the motivation for Beckham practicing free-kicks late after training and money wasn’t what made Ronaldinho stick out in youth games in Brazil. What drove these players as youngsters to endlessly practice with a ball by themselves, to go that extra mile in training and to eventually shine on the pitch, was the love of the game of football.
You cannot doubt Kaka’s love for calcio, nor his priorities. The player is strongly religious and has tithed part of his income to his church – hardly the actions of a money-orientated individual. Kaka has overcome difficulties in the past, and the latest one – that of recapturing the world-beating form that single-handedly inspired the 2007 Champions League triumph – is all the greater for staying at the San Siro.
And as Beckham would say (or at least Alistair McGowan dressed up as David Beckham); “Manchester City!”
Why Milan should sell Kaka
For all the noises coming out the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, you’d be mistaken for thinking Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani are desperate to hold on to one of their prized assets. However, behind the scenes they must be rubbing their hands at the thought of what could be done with the transfer fee.
The past season has seen a decline in Kaka’s form for his club – albeit a slight one and only one from being the World’s best player to perhaps, only Italy’s best player – a decline is still a decline and as Kaka’s form has suffered, so too has Milan’s – particularly in the league.
Milan invested heavily in the summer and the club now has options up front that were simply not available to them when they sold Shevchenko to Chelsea in 2006. In the 2006/07 season, Kaka was integral to almost every piece of attacking play the Rossoneri had, offering creativity, pace and an end-product. Post Calciopoli, the club were relying on the fantasy of winning the Champions League to remain financially competitive with their rivals in Italy and across to Spain and England. Kaka’s sensational form earned an historic 7th European Cup to the club’s cabinet and earned the Brazilian the World Player of the Year and Ballon D’Or titles.
Milan’s inconsistent league form in the 2006/07 season and the form across all competitions in the 2007/08 campaign showed that as good as Kaka was, even he couldn’t maintain the sort of form he was showing in Europe over a prolonged period in Serie A. Since then, Adriano Galliani has engineered the arrivals of Pato in January 2008 and Shevchenko and Ronaldinho the following summer. With a wealth of options now available in the final third, Ancelotti has adapted his formation fittingly, shifting Kaka out of focus in order to develop the talents of prodigies Pato and Marco Borriello whilst also making the most of Ronaldinho’s splendour.
Milan would miss what Kaka offers them going forward, but for such a huge sum of money, who couldn’t they replace him with? The main reason that Milan would be foolish to turn down such a warped figure is what they could then do with the money. The club who had to convince Ronaldinho and Gianluca Zambrotta to take pay-cuts to join them in the summer, would all-of-a-sudden have the funds available to go out and truly strengthen their defensive back line, as well as invest in another striker to guarantee the goals. They could buy the players necessary to achieve their main target of the season, the 2008/09 Scudetto.
Giuseppe Biava, Diego Milito, Daniel Agger and co. suddenly all become much more affordable when you’ve just received a cash-injection of such extreme proportion. The club could even abandon such proposed moves, looking to more ambitious targets. As sad a day as it would be for Milan to say goodbye to one of their greatest players of the last decade, the money would have a significant say in matters. When Chelsea came knocking through 2007 for Kaka, projected offers of between £50m-£75m didn’t even turn Milan’s heads. But, both Milan and Kaka have changed since then, with the club stronger in the striking department and Kaka struggling to rekindle the form from 18 months ago and in every other club’s eyes having also decreased in market value. £100m for Kaka now would be a wise move for the Rossoneri.