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Guardiola’s agent in Milan talks

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MILAN, Italy, November 7- Rumours of Pep Guardiola’s interest in taking over at AC Milan gathered pace Tuesday when the agent and brother of the former Barcelona supremo was seen with officials from the Serie A club, said a report.

Milan, who drew 1-1 with Malaga in the Champions League here Tuesday, have endured their worst ever start to a league season, prompting rumours — which began over a month ago — that coach Massimiliano Allegri is set to be replaced.

Guardiola is currently on a sabbatical having coached Barcelona during one of their most successful spells in the club’s history, however Italian media have persistently linked him to AC Milan.

On Tuesday the website of Italy’s biggest selling newspaper, sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, said Guardiola’s brother Pere and former Barcelona assistant coach Manuel Estiarte were seen with club CEO Adriano Galliani.

AC Milan denied the meeting took place.

“AC Milan categorically denies reports of any kind of meeting between Adriano Galliani and those who may represent Mr. Guardiola,” read a statement on acmilan.com.

However Gazzetta said on its web report: “But Gazzetta affirms that the meeting did take place”, and Sky Sport broadcast pictures of what it said were two Spaniards leaving the Giannino restaurant in the company of the club’s officials.

As competition debutants Malaga qualified for the knockout phase, Allegri was left hoping his team can finish the job in their closing games, against Anderlecht away and Zenit St Petersburg at home.

It was later reported that Pere Guardiola had later attended the 1-1 draw at the San Siro, where club owner Silvio Berlusconi was also in attendance for the first time this season, according to ANSA.

Asked after the match about the Guardiola report, Allegri told the Mediaset channel: “The presence of Guardiola’s entourage in the stands doesn’t bother me.

“I’ve heard a million names being bandied about, I’m a bit bored of this story, also because it’s up to the club to deal with this situation.

“Our problems lie elsewhere: moving back up the table and making up ground in the Champions League. These are my objectives and as long as I’m in this post I have to do the best I can.”

Milan, who were buoyed by a 5-1 victory against Chievo in Serie A on Saturday, need a positive result against Malaga to stay in contention for top spot in the group as they are presently second five points adrift of the Spanish side.

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