"His future is with AC Milan,” manager Filippo Inzaghi said. “Stephan is our flagship, one of our best players and his future is with us. He is trusted by us and by the president." John McAuley reports.
AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy speaks during a panel discussion at the 9th Dubai International Sports Conference on December 28, 2014 in Dubai. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI
AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy speaks during a panel discussion at the 9th Dubai International Sports Conference on December 28, 2014 in Dubai. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI

DUBAI // Stephan El Shaarawy is the man to lead AC Milan’s potential renaissance and is therefore not for sale, according to Filippo Inzaghi, the Italian club’s manager.

El Shaarawy, 22, has been linked with a move away from the San Siro in next month’s transfer window, with Roma, the Serie A title challengers, and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund rumoured to be interested in obtaining his services. Liverpool and Arsenal, the Premier League pair, are also believed to be monitoring the striker’s situation.

On Sunday, at the Dubai International Sports Conference, El Shaarawy was asked about a possible transfer, at which point his manager, sitting alongside him, interjected.

“I can answer for him: his future is with AC Milan,” Inzaghi said. “Stephan is our flagship, one of our best players and his future is with us. He is trusted by us and by the president. He has been injured, but he is doing well. We all expect a lot from him. The new year will be the year of El Shaarawy.”

El Shaarawy endured an injury-plagued 2013/14 campaign with Milan, featuring in only six Serie A matches.

He has played 12 league fixtures this season and last month scored in the 2-2 draw at Sampdoria to end a barren spell stretching back to February 2013. His Milan contract runs until June 2018.

“I have my personal goals, to come back and put in the best performances, and to score more goals,” El Shaarawy said.

“I have been lucky enough to wear the Milan jersey from the age of 18. It was always a dream for me, a dream come true. This is my fourth year at Milan and I have had some great times and troubled times. I hope to give a lot more to Milan and to Italian football.”

El Shaarawy said Milan, who are seventh in Serie A, have set a target of a top-three finish this season and, with it, a return to next year’s Uefa Champions League.

The seven-time European Cup champions concluded the last domestic campaign eighth in the table, meaning they failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1997.

Speaking about the Champions League, Inzaghi, the seventh- highest scorer in the competition’s history, said: “The Champions League is the natural habitat of AC Milan.

“Last year was very difficult. We have to bounce back this year when we can. The Champions League is something special, so it hurts for such a glorious club to be out of it, but we have only ourselves to blame. We have to get back there next year. We are working hard to do that.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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