El Shaarawy to stay at Milan

AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy has been linked with a potential move to Manchester City this summer.

However, it seems the Italian youngster intends to remain at the San Siro with AC Milan for whom he netted an impressive 19 goals in all competitions this term.

The 20-year-old has been linked in recent weeks with a massive €40 million ‘bid’ from City who still have yet to acquire a replacement for Mario Balotelli who joined up with El Shaarawy in Milan in January if this year.

Along with Balotelli’s departure, speculation over the futures of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and even Sergio Aguero persists with all three of City’s remaining strikers being linked with potential moves away from the Etihad this summer.

“I don’t think I will leave Milan,” Shaarawy told La Repubblic.

“If City really wants me, it flatters me. But I want to stay here at AC Milan.”

“I always felt total confidence from all: the club, coach [Massimiliano] Allegri and team-mates. It’s also thanks to them that I am in the Italian national team.”

City will likely now have to turn their attentions elsewhere in search of added firepower up front – they have reportedly already secured the signings of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk and winger Jesus Navas from Sevilla.

Shaarawy would have been the most obvious like-for-like replacement for Balotelli who, in reality, may have hindered City’s attempts to sign his young compatriot. I’m sure Balotelli would have spoken to his AC Milan and Italy teammate about the club.

Reasonably, as El Shaarawy suggests, he will be competing with Balotelli for a place up front in Cesare Prandelli’s squad for the upcoming World Cup next year in Brazil.

El Shaarawy has made only a third of the senior appearances for Italy that Balotelli has and, to date, he has managed to score only one goal – he’ll be looking to improve that tally and fight for his place for both club and country and, understandably, the best place for him to do that probably is Italy.

City have also been linked in recent weeks with Napoli striker Edinson Cavani who they will likely now step up the chase for. However, they have strong competition from Chelsea who are also reportedly interest in the striker.

His counterpart at Fiorentina, Stevan Jovetic may well be a better option for City to chase although at present he’s linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea as well.

In terms of Serie A strikers, City should rethink their hopes of signing Roma’s young prospect Erik Lamela – he’s scored one goal less than El Shaarawy this campaign and at 21 years of age he would represent a similar kind of long-term value for money.

According to reports City had a £20 million bid rejected for him in April. Perhaps City might consider rekindling their interest in that avenue as it looks as though they will fail in their attempts to bring El Shaarawy to the Etihad for the time being.

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch