Climbing the Milan wage ladder

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Marco Luzzani/Getty ImagesRising star Stephan El Shaarawy is the eighth-best paid player at Milan.

In a report published by La Gazzetta dello Sport last week, the top ten earners at Milan were revealed. It made for interesting viewing as the club continues its fiscal-friendly revolution in a bid to become competitive in the long run.

It is widely known that the Rossoneri have made a conscious effort to reduce their wage bill as they look to balance their one-time bloated books. By sacrificing some of the biggest stars of the team, that naturally helped trigger an upturn in the financial forecast.

However, what has further boosted this strategy is the system in which the club is acquiring younger players with great potential, as opposed to signing big name stars that will simply send them into a backwards spiral.

Despite spending money on Mario Balotelli this past January transfer window, Milan used the money they recouped on Alexandre Pato's sale to Corinthians to cover some of the Balotelli costs. Further, Balotelli accepted a paycut in comparison to the deal he had with Manchester City to one which matched the Brazilian's old deal.

Adriano Galliani is often lauded for his work in the transfer market, but it is clear he has been busy looking at the internal aspects too.

So, to the rich list. The trio of Balotelli, Philippe Mexes and Robinho make up the top earners at the club, all on contracts reportedly worth four million euros per season.

Up next, we have Riccardo Montolivo who is said to currently earn 3.5 million. The midfield general is swiftly followed by Kevin-Prince Boateng and Nigel de Jong who both earn three million apiece, with Giampaolo Pazzini not far behind at 2.7 million.

Stephan El Shaarawy comes in at eighth spot having recently signed an improved deal with the club, and he reportedly earns two million per season with Ignazio Abate and Daniele Bonera making up the top 10, both also at two million.

While these aren’t official figures provided by the club, the infamous 'pink paper' isn't often wrong when publishing these reports as they have done so correctly numerous times in the past.

By assessing the wage structure it is obvious that there are still certain features that need addressing in the summer.

Speculation suggests that Robinho remains in favour of a return to Brazil in the summer, which in the event of a deal being made would immediately save the club more money.

Considering the Brazilian's limited contribution this season -- albeit due to injury and not through lack of professionalism -- it may finally be time to bid him a fond farewell.

Question marks would quite rightly have been raised at the beginning of the season over a number of other top earners at the club not producing on the pitch to warrant such a deal. However, depending on whether this current spell of good form continues, there will be little reason to break the squad up should the top players continue to perform.

Galliani and Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi have both hinted in recent weeks at little being done in the way of arrivals in the summer, aside from adding more youth to the squad.

Basing their conclusions on the evidence of the turnaround Milan have enjoyed in recent months, they both believe, along with coach Massimiliano Allegri, that they have a squad capable of winning the Scudetto next season.

It is an exciting time at Milan with the results arriving on the pitch, but it is perhaps even more reassuring that the financial picture is starting to look a little prettier now too.

What are your observations of the list of top earners at the club? Are Galliani and Berlusconi right in saying that this current squad can challenge for the title next season?

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