Steven Zhang

Former Players, Coaches and Management or La Grande Inter?


  • Total voters
    71
  • Poll closed .

brehme1989

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Not comparing their contributions to the club, just source of funds.

What funds did arrive from Steve Zhang really?

His basic contribution was sponsorships and he fucked up after shipping Pirelli. Got the socios crypto scam, then managed to get ripped by the Digitalbits crypto scam.
Suning sponsorship dwindled during his tenure.

Suning sponsorship money was 55m in 2016-17, 40m in 2017-18, 35m in 2018-19 (decided before baby Zhang got promoted) and then we have 30m in 2019-20, 21m in 2020-21, 12m in 2021-22 and less than 1m in 2022-23. Nothing last season, even if the training facility still carries their name iirc. Not sure on the commercial specifics of that deal though, but just saying out loud what I notice.

Now as for capital, zero capital was injected directly since they bought the club. The first time the club received any form of money from shareholders was with a 75m loan which was acquired from Oaktree (2021-22). Then we got 50m the following year (2022-23). No funds arrived in 2023-24 from Zhang.

So the source of funds, is effectively a bad loan he[?] took and it cost his dad all his Inter shares, and just 125m of that was used.


How does this compare to Moratti in any way who inherited a business and was not appointed at Inter by his dad, worked in the business for a decade and a half after his dad passed away before getting control of Inter and then throwing money at everything that breathed, without any fund loaning him the money against his shares?
 

brakbrak

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What funds did arrive from Steve Zhang really?

His basic contribution was sponsorships and he fucked up after shipping Pirelli. Got the socios crypto scam, then managed to get ripped by the Digitalbits crypto scam.
Suning sponsorship dwindled during his tenure.

Suning sponsorship money was 55m in 2016-17, 40m in 2017-18, 35m in 2018-19 (decided before baby Zhang got promoted) and then we have 30m in 2019-20, 21m in 2020-21, 12m in 2021-22 and less than 1m in 2022-23. Nothing last season, even if the training facility still carries their name iirc. Not sure on the commercial specifics of that deal though, but just saying out loud what I notice.

Now as for capital, zero capital was injected directly since they bought the club. The first time the club received any form of money from shareholders was with a 75m loan which was acquired from Oaktree (2021-22). Then we got 50m the following year (2022-23). No funds arrived in 2023-24 from Zhang.

So the source of funds, is effectively a bad loan he[?] took and it cost his dad all his Inter shares, and just 125m of that was used.


How does this compare to Moratti in any way who inherited a business and was not appointed at Inter by his dad, worked in the business for a decade and a half after his dad passed away before getting control of Inter and then throwing money at everything that breathed, without any fund loaning him the money against his shares?
Idk why you wrote an essay. You did agree that Moratti did inherit the bussiness from his dad?
 

brehme1989

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Pimpin's post sums it up. Our worst ever banter era, he pulls us out from it and wins 2 leagues and gets us to a CL final. I wasnt sure I'd ever see inter in a CL final again in my lifetime.
He pulls us out? he?

We were already twice in the CL groups by the time he gets any executive role at Inter... He was just a non-ex director his dad planted for 2 years until then.


I mean, the guy could be or become a brilliant business man, but wtf are you even on about here? At least give credit to his dad for funding the club and returning us to CL despite Xi blocking his initial investment plan...
 

brehme1989

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Idk why you wrote an essay. You did agree that Moratti did the bussiness from his dad?

Steve Zhang didn't inherit shit though. Even that's not similar. I'm explicit. Steve Zhang received funding to be the president of Inter. He didn't do shit on his own.
Moratti is also child #4 in his family and son #2 if gender plays any role

Moratti inherited a business. Not a multibillion dollar business, but still managed to spend over 1.5bn of his personal money, not company money (which is what Zhang did via Suning) on Inter.

When billionaires list come up and check "source of wealth" on Massimo Moratti, they don't fill it with "inheritance". They say "Oil Refinery". Whether it's today or in 1995.
What do you think it says when it comes to Kangyang? Is he even on the lists his dad appeared on?
 

brakbrak

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Steve Zhang didn't inherit shit though. Even that's not similar. I'm explicit. Steve Zhang received funding to be the president of Inter. He didn't do shit on his own.
On paper, but everything his dad has is pretty much his given that he's the only son and we are talking about east Asian people, not Bill Gates who said that his children aren't entitled to any of his money.
When billionaires list come up and check "source of wealth" on Massimo Moratti, they don't fill it with "inheritance". They say "Oil Refinery". Whether it's today or in 1995.
What do you think it says when it comes to Kangyang? Is he even on the lists his dad appeared on?
In which he inherited from his daddy.
 

Pimpin

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nurko

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yeah, if he was an Italian or German, there would be an absolute vote for LGI. Some fifers would have sung odes here
No, it would not. For what it's worth, he could have been Bosnian like me and still would not be LGI in my eyes.
 

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He took loans which gave us trophies but lead us straight in the arms of vulture fund to do with us whatever they want. Hey, it's legit modus operandi, definitely something we should thank him for if we concentrate only on trophies but not something that should open you doors to lgi. It really is that simple for me.

If he had somehow found a buyer half as ambitious and well-meaning as he was to the club and sold him the shares, with all the trophies he won, I would have zero problems with putting him in lgi. Hey, even the thohir type of businessman would have sufficed, just end it honorably with the simple sale and call it a day.

Many people here could regret the praise if all this oaktree stuff goes south, and if it goes south long term. For me, just a possibility that it can go south with oaktree entering the scene is enough of an offense. Whether some people want to face reality or not, he brought them to our doorstep and closed the eyes on the possible risks.
 

.h.

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Lets wait and see what happens with Oaktree, tbh. From a very quick research, I dont think they're a vultiure fund like Elliott, and even Elliott didnt asset strip Milan.
 

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I really believe we will end up better. Zhang might be passionate to Inter but his management level seems...naive, understandable considering his age.

Antonello has been the least convincing link in our management, but still the only one granted lifetime contract.

As the most successful Serie A club recently, our sponsorships look underwhelming. Less than Milan level iirc. Yes they have bigger history but won like 1 Scudetto for decade. Oaktree should do better.

Crypto scam. Speechless.

Asking ridiculous 1.2 billion then lose the club like this. Zhang jr simply relies the fate his biggest asset on the Pimco loan, when they refuse then he is left empty handed. All the stuffs are without awareness, means he doesnt plan at all for the backfire. Plus the clause "another loan might cause 50m?!? penalty" I never understand. Yonghong Li-esque.

Him not joining Inter celebration doesnt looks good for the president image either. So no LGI sufficient imo.
I agree with all of this, but I'm still voting LGI. What you said is important, but as far football goes, at least he steadied the ship where this squad deserved to go.

I'll never be a fan of him and I think he is about as naive as Moratti was, but this era wouldn't happen without the money that was invested. The loan situation was braindead from day one.

At least he didn't sell the club for 900mil to some shitter that wouldn't care about the club. We might still get an owner that might not care, but at least now it's a 50-50 chance that everything could turn out okay.

No panic from me just yet.

Thanks Zhang, but please don't try to buy the club again, I'm worried that you might become as poor as me with decisions like that.
 

Jane The Virgin

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Wtf is this guy thinking... Thanking this loser publicly???

Hakan is on drugs, Steven did nothing, probably was busy buying a Lambo or swimming in Ibiza when the deal happened. Most probably Marotta forged his signature, or not his per se, but Papa Zhang's. Because, oh well - Steven is just that insignificant.

Also in reality Calha should thank Milan for letting him go. It's because of them he is our player.
 

Puma

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How Steven Zhang lost control of Inter Milan – and what happens next​

By James Horncastle

The day after Inter Milan clinched their 20th league title by defeating their rivals AC Milan in a historic Derby della Madonnina last month, players Hakan Calhanoglu and Marcus Thuram invited club president Steven Zhang to join them for an Instagram Live.

Zhang was not in Italy for the game, nor for the celebrations in the city’s Piazza del Duomo.


“President, you got us for zero Euros, eh?” Thuram pointed out, bringing up his free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach last summer and Calhanoglu’s from Milan two years earlier. “Zero! Zero!” he repeated, gesturing with his thumb and forefinger.

“The car is costing more than us,” Calhanoglu laughed, no doubt alluding to the Ferraris and Lamborghinis that appear on Zhang’s social media feed.

“We can have a gift?” Thuram asked cheekily. “A watch?”

Arm across his forehead, Zhang replied jovially: “It was a mistake accepting the invite.”

It was awkward, too. Sunday’s season-ending 1-1 draw with Lazio at San Siro was the 32-year-old’s last game as president of Inter. Zhang hoped it wouldn’t be. But the writing was on the wall.

He has not been to the hallowed stadium Inter share with Milan in more than a year, an absence neither Zhang nor the club has explained.

In 2022, the High Court of Hong Kong ordered him to repay $254million (£199.3m at the current rate), at 13 per cent interest, on unpaid debts to China Construction Bank and submit himself to a debtor examination. This March, the court of appeal in Milan ruled that judgment is now valid in Italy, too.

Take a moment to consider the context of the above for a moment.

An Inter player was teasing Zhang about the whereabouts of a gift to commemorate this season’s Scudetto at a time when a government-owned bank in the People’s Republic of China has been demanding: where’s our money?

The legal action taken by China Construction Bank raised questions about Zhang’s ability to remain president of Inter.

The club are not owned by him personally, but a Luxembourg-based shell company set up by Suning Sports International Limited, a subsidiary of the Suning.com business empire his father, Zhang Jindong, founded and presided over until he lost control, resigning in the aftermath of a bailout led by local government in Jiangsu province in 2021.

It was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as detailed in the long read for our crisis club series in November, Inter were also celebrating a Scudetto. But they were also at risk of going under, struggling to pay their players, until Oaktree, a U.S. asset management firm, handed Zhang a lifeline.

On May 20, 2021, Oaktree loaned Inter’s holding companies €275million (£234m; $298m) at 12 per cent interest for three years and secured its money by obtaining a pledge from the borrower. In the event of default or non-repayment at maturity, Oaktree would get whatever was held in the Luxembourg-based shell company, Grand Tower. It would get Suning’s majority share of Inter.

The deadline was due to expire on Monday; only Monday, as everybody knows, is a bank holiday in Luxembourg — Pentecost for those asking — and so Zhang got another 24 hours to count the cost, pay up or refinance the loan. At maturity, it bulged to approximately €395million (more than the Saudi PIF-led consortium paid for Newcastle United in 2021).

In the days leading up to Inter’s second star-clinching game against Milan (each star above the club crest on their shirt representing 10 titles), Zhang, perhaps emboldened by how well things were going for his club, appeared at the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. “I guess what I can say is we will continue the fight. None of the rumours is true,” he said. “And as long as I’m the president, as long as I’m the owner, we will continue to win and continue to aim for the best, no doubt.”

A position of strength was projected as the zenith of Inter’s season approached.

Stories had begun to emerge claiming Zhang was close to a deal with Pimco, an investment management firm, over a refinancing. The mooted transaction was reportedly worth more than €400million for three years at an interest rate approximating 20 per cent, enabling Inter’s incumbent owner to pay back Oaktree and remain in control of the club.

“S for Scudetto, for Steven, for Soldi (money), for Shanghai, for Star. It all adds up,” a cheerleading Gazzetta dello Sport wrote. “At the heart of it all is Zhang because Inter is and remains in his hands.”

But contrary to what has been asserted in Italy during the past month, The Athletic understands that, while Pimco did look at a refinancing, it was not imminent.

After all, such deals take time to bring together. Due diligence needs to be carried out, and only once it is complete and satisfactory do the parties move on to the next phase. A term sheet gets drawn up. Then a securities and pledge agreement. All of this does not happen overnight. Refinancings are not like player transfers going through on deadline day.

Zhang’s desperation became clear in a statement on Inter’s website on Saturday night. It was the first time he acknowledged to “the Nerazzurri family” that there might be a problem.

“During the approach of the pending Oaktree facility redemption date,” Zhang wrote, “we have been making every attempt with our partner to find an amicable resolution, including multiple paths for Oaktree to achieve full and immediate financial return. Unfortunately, our efforts to date have been exasperated by legal threats, and a lack of meaningful engagement from Oaktree.

“Not only has this been deeply frustrating and disappointing, such behaviour now poses potential risks to the club that could seriously jeopardise its stability.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. But for Zhang, who posted a photo on his Instagram of him at a Morgan-Stanley induction in 2015 with the hashtag #bankerlife, it should have been fairly straightforward: type in the account details Oaktree supplied three years ago and wire the money owed to their account by midnight yesterday (Tuesday). An impending maturity is not a legal threat and the only meaningful engagement necessary was laid out in the rules of engagement detailed in the term sheet — rules Inter’s owners signed up to in 2021.

As for the “potential risks to the club that could seriously jeopardise its stability”, Inter were in jeopardy of going bust back then and the owners needed an emergency relief loan from Oaktree to prop the club up. The worst-case scenario today isn’t bankruptcy, it’s a fund with €172billion worth of assets under management becoming the new owner.

Oaktree didn’t loan Inter’s owners that money with the intention of one day seizing the club. Football clubs, as hedge fund Elliott found when it confiscated AC Milan from enigmatic Chinese businessman Yonghong Li in 2018, are time- and labour-intensive assets. They bring great media scrutiny.

Part of Oaktree’s business is to act as a lender, and lenders need people to borrow money from them. Develop a reputation for repossessions and borrowers will go somewhere else for credit. The loan was granted on the understanding Zhang would have three years to restore his Picasso — football clubs and fine art share scarcity value — then offload it, and allow Oaktree to participate in the uplift from a successful sale.

Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Raine were retained to find a buyer but Inter have remained unsold. The only offers in the public domain were made by the curious figure of Thomas Zilliacus.

Zhang hoped for “a peaceful” and “amicable” resolution with Oaktree in order for Suning “to continue our success story for our beloved Inter”. Negotiating an extension with Oaktree seemed unlikely in the aftermath of the strongly worded statement published on Inter’s website which was perceived by local media as an “attack” on the fund. And, besides, Suning had had three years not three days to come up with the money.

On Instagram, Zhang posted a photo of a “Grazie Steven” banner at San Siro from Sunday’s Lazio game. His stories on that platform have been quiet since. Time was up. When the €395million Suning owed didn’t appear in Oaktree’s account on Tuesday, the reckoning — otherwise known as an ‘Enforcement Event’ — finally came. Suning’s seven-year run as Inter’s patron ended.

“As new owners, we recognise our responsibility to Inter’s community, history and legacy,” said Alejandro Cano, the managing director and European co-head of Oaktree’s global opportunities strategy. For all the conjecture on social media about the fund already having a buyer lined up, Inter was not Oaktree’s asset to manage or sell until today (Wednesday) and immediately flipping the club isn’t on the agenda.

“We are committed to the long-term success of the Nerazzurri and believe our ambitions for the club are united with those of its passionate fans in Italy and around the world,” Cano said. “Our initial focus is operational and financial stability. We have great respect for Inter’s management team and look forward to working closely with them to provide strong leadership for the club.”

That means retaining Beppe Marotta, the recruitment figurehead, chief executive and seasoned footballing politician, as well as sporting director Piero Ausilio, vice-president and club legend Javier Zanetti and corporate chief executive Alessandro Antonello.

Marotta signed a new contract until 2027 over the winter and aligned himself very closely with Zhang. He will be critical for Inter’s continuity and the new owner’s credibility, particularly with the contracts of head coach Simone Inzaghi and veteran defenders Francesco Acerbi and Stefan de Vrij coming to an end next summer — not to mention those of midfielder Nicolo Barella and striker (and captain) Lautaro Martinez, which are due to expire 12 months later.

While it’s more or less business as usual for Inter, what about Zhang and Suning? He has lost his toy. Will he fight its seizure?

In the wording of the pledge agreement struck three years ago, Oaktree can “appropriate, or have appropriate by a person designated by” them “the Pledged Assets at their Fair Market Value” which, crucially, will be appraised “by an approved independent statutory auditor or an investment bank, appointed by the Security Agent (Oaktree) at its sole discretion, always at the costs of the Pledgor (Suning Sports International Limited)”.

This is presumably where some of the underlying tension of Zhang’s statement lies. Because what is fair market value? It’s in the eyes of the beholder.

Sports business website Football Benchmark gives Inter an enterprise value of €1.2billion. Another, Sportico, recently published a ranking of the game’s most valuable clubs which placed it at just short of €1bn. But what has the market said throughout the sales process? Inter aren’t worth those figures and, at the end of the day, an asset is only worth what the market is willing to pay for it.

This means Inter are worth less, rather than worthless.

But once you factor in the club’s negative cash flows (Inter lost €85million last season, despite being out of COVID-19 and going all the way to the Champions League final), the liabilities that need pricing in (for starters, a €405m bond) and the slow progress on a new stadium (Inter extended an exclusivity option on a piece of land in Rozzano, to the south of Milan, in April, rather than buying and developing it), it’s a major undertaking for a buyer to take on, no matter how much legacy value is tied up in Brand Inter and how successful the team are being on the pitch at the moment.

The club are in negative equity, their working capital looks inflated and the debt or debt-like items are considerable. All these things deduct from Inter’s value. Off the pitch, Oaktree will need time to turn things around. On it, they assume control of the best Inter side since the 2010 treble winners, one that has begun a mini-dynasty in the past four years with two Scudetti, two Super Cup-Coppa Italia doubles and appearances in the finals of the Europa League and Champions League.

“Winning the second star was a pivotal moment for the club,” Cano said. “And our aim is to build on the momentum achieved on the pitch to develop a clear path for consistent growth and success."
 

Nero Indigo

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He wasn’t a terribly intrusive president but he was also just a bloody figurehead controlled by the mothership.

However, (and I’ll always reference this until it changes for good) given how I view some of the people who’re undeserving of the La Grande Inter section on this forum and those who are supposed to be in it - I voted him in because fuck it all :lol:

I feel we should have just had the option to vote in Suning instead of this guy anyway. Since that’s not possible, might as well just vote in Mr. Figurehead Absentee President - MR. FAP!
 
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brehme1989

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These votes need to stop coming from day 1.

Give it a few months or even a year. If by then people still feel he's deserving mention, he'll deserve it.

Now it's just knee jerk voting.
 

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transfermarkt-it-the-most-expensive-arrivals-vs-the-most-v0-lx2np3tzv02d1.jpg


transfermarkt-it-the-most-expensive-arrivals-vs-the-most-v0-5qk6i4tzv02d1.jpg



We had this here already or no?
 

RickyMaravilla'sRightFoot

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Wtf is this guy thinking... Thanking this loser publicly???

Hakan is on drugs, Steven did nothing, probably was busy buying a Lambo or swimming in Ibiza when the deal happened. Most probably Marotta forged his signature, or not his per se, but Papa Zhang's. Because, oh well - Steven is just that insignificant.

Also in reality Calha should thank Milan for letting him go. It's because of them he is our player.
I don’t have an issue with it. He’s the face of the organization signing the paychecks and generally seems to have a good relationship with the players.

Anyway I don’t really see the point in voting. Legend worthy tenure but he was very much in the background.
 

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Following Oaktree’s takeover of #Inter, Steven Zhang spoke with the management team several times. The former club President is not expected to take any legal action against Oaktree or the club.


Of course, he has no case. Empty threats.
 

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Or maybe those were just rumours.
 

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Dear Interisti,

Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you have to bid farewell to those you love. Life always has a beginning and an end. I have always known that one day I would have to say goodbye. The truth is, I am not ready for it, and perhaps I never have been.

Eight years ago, when I was 24 years old, I came to San Siro for the first time to watch a football match, not knowing what awaited me. The emotions I felt that day have guided every decision I have made over the years. The blue-black world, unique in itself, embraced me immediately, full of passion, joy, and love. I have grown together with you, also personally, and I will always carry that in my heart.

At the beginning of my time as president, I promised to bring Inter back to the level it had always been. In these 8 years, we won 7 trophies, reached 2 European finals, and won the Scudetto twice. The legendary second star was the culmination of our success. After many investments and countless hours of work behind it, Inter has become a modern club, innovative and winning, at the highest European level.

In the last 3 days, I have received many messages and calls from all of you. I must admit it has made me feel loved – but it has also made saying goodbye harder.

Thanks to Inter, I met people I today consider family, and whom I will take with me for the rest of my life.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone around me; Ale (Antonello), Beppe (Marotta), Javier (Zanetti), Piero (Ausilio), Dario (Baccin), Luca (Danovaro), Matteo (Pedinotti), Angelo, Andrea (Accinelli), Lionel (Sacchi), Mark (Van Huuksloot). All of them supported and protected me, which helped me in being president. I want to thank the entire staff, both at Viale della Liberazione (HQ), at Appiano Gentile, Interello, and San Siro. Everyone has worked to make Inter grow and achieve success for our beloved club.

A special thanks to all former players and our current players who secured the second star. Many of you treated me like a friend and took me into your group as if I were one of you, and our relationship ended up going beyond being president and player. A special thanks to all coaches, especially to Simone Inzaghi, a man with good values and a big heart, whom I was fortunate to have during my presidency.

Finally, Inter is not Inter without all our fantastic tifosi. Thank you all for the messages I have received from you. They all mean a lot to me in this emotional moment for me. I can't wait to come back to San Siro and sing for our Inter – perhaps from Curva Nord.

To those who will carry the club forward, I ask you to love the club, protect the people around it, and especially respect the club's fundamental values. It is a great honor and a great responsibility to take the helm of Inter. With love and care, Inter will reward you with great results, emotions, and joy. For me, it has been the greatest honor of my life.

Forza Inter, forever. AMALA! Forever one of you.

Steven
 
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