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Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 11 goals in all competitions since his return to AC Milan in January. © AFP/File MIGUEL MEDINA

Football

Ibrahimovic ‘a priority’ for Milan next season

MILAN, Italy, Aug 25 – Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s continued presence next season at AC Milan remains a priority for the club, technical director Paolo Maldini said on Tuesday.

“Ibrahimovic is our priority, but it is normal that there should be a plan B, also C and D,” Maldini told a press conference.

“We are all working hard to reach an agreement. We know it will be a short pre-season, so we want to try to close in a very tight time frame.”

Ibrahimovic rejoined Milan in January on a six-month contract after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy, on a deal worth 3.5 million euros ($3.9 million) with the option for an additional season.

The 38-year-old Swede had a big impact, scoring 11 goals in all competitions as the club moved up from 11th on his arrival to finish the season sixth.

AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis said the club were “optimistic” that Ibrahimovic will still be at the club when the new season to start on September 19.

“I think that we can all see that Ibra has played an important part in our season and our growth,” said Gazidis.

“We are doing everything we can to see that this can continue.

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“We have a young team which has been growing in a very positive way during the last very strange season.”

Maldini added that the club were working on renewing Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract, and were in negotiations with Chelsea to sign defensive midifelder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who spent last season on loan at Monaco.

“We are confident that he (Donnarumma) wants to continue with us. We are ready to make adequate offers for such an important player,” said Maldini.

“There is some concern because he is in his last year on his contract. But first let’s resolve the Zlatan issue and then we’ll focus on Gigio.”

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