MILAN – Erick Thohir opened today’s shareholders’ meeting by offering – together with everyone else present – a long applause to honorary president Massimo Moratti. He then outlined the latest developments regarding the restructuring of the club to the shareholders, and also discussed transfers. Indeed, he was very clear in associating these two topics, both during the meeting and when speaking to the press afterwards.
On the new company set up and the club’s strategies.
"The new company is similar to many companies that focus on sport and media: we’re creating a media company that will focus on increasing revenue from the media and sponsorships. We’ve recruited a new person [Luca Innocenti] for ticketing. If you look at the top 15 clubs in terms of revenue, the average is 260 million a year. For Inter to get to that level, one of the important things is ticketing. That’s why we’ve recruited this person, because he will create a business plan for us.
"The most important thing for us is to build a team on the pitch but you also need to have a strong management. That’s why I said yesterday that we won’t stop recruiting because there are positions still available, for example a marketing director and an international sponsorships director. The deal we signed with Infront yesterday is for Europe, but not the rest of the world. It’s important to have more people to help in China, United States, Japan, South-East Asia, and Australia.
"The same goes for marketing because when you look at Inter as a brand, it’s important to create a marketing team who can develop strategies for the club, to reach beyond Europe and go global. If the club is to reach 200 million, the media will play an important role for the company. Because the media, the websites and social media are areas where we can add more revenue, but it takes a while to develop."
On Javier Zanetti
"The captain will be part of the club. As I keep saying, we want to focus on the last three games we have. I met Zanetti yesterday and we spoke about the fact that the team needs to focus on getting as many points as we can, but at the same time we had discussions about him studying English and management. I think it’s important that when he’s part of the club he understands not only the sport but also the management side. The most important thing is that he’s still a player at the moment and he can help us perform consistently over the next three games."
On the summer transfer window
"We’ve agreed with the management, the coach and the sporting director to review the team after these last three games. It’s not not fair when you say a player is out of contract so he has to go, but you want to continue the contract based on performances. The same goes for the players whose contracts are running out at the moment. We want to review their performances because the most important thing for next season is that we balance the team, and the team needs to perform to meet the expectations and the targets that we want.
"If you remember, in January the reason we added Hernanes in midfield is that we felt he could bring more movement to our play, through the middle and not only on the wings. And we added D’Ambrosio because we wanted to balance in the wide areas. This summer we’ll look for another winger to help, and also a defender and an attacker. As you know, we only have Palacio and Icardi, Milito’s contract is finishing. We still want to talk to him, but again we need to review things because we might need an attacker and also a defender.
"It’s good to have big names but there are no guarantees in negotiations. That’s why I tell the media that we’ll only announce the players that we’ve signed, because otherwise it’s only rumours. As I said, the most important thing for next season is to build a balanced team. When you have big names but no one on the bench it’s not good. If we do well in the next three games, we’ll play in three competitions next year, so we need to add depth to the team.
"At the same time, it’s very important that more than 11 players stay in the team over the next three years. According to the calculations we’ve made with the management, we hope we can keep more than 10 players in the next two to three years because with this consistency we can create a balanced team, and communication, teamwork and focus can be achieved."
DC United and Del Piero
"DC United’s interest in Del Piero? I don’t have any information about that. Of course I haven’t checked it because for sure if they were going to recruit a player I would know. I believe DC United already have a good team, although they might want to look at the opportunity of adding players or changing some of them in the next couple of months. The MLS season is different to Serie A. In Major League Soccer you have a salary cap of three million, so it’s a different kind of league. I don’t have any information but I believe that if they had someone joining the team, then as an owner I would know."