In an official statement, AC Milan have confirmed, Stephan El Shaarawy is not for sale putting an end to the speculation regarding the future of their star forward. English clubs Manchester City and Chelsea had reportedly expressed their interest in the services of the player while the Nouveau Riche from France – PSG and Monaco too were linked with a big money move. However, after a meeting between the player and club vice president Adriano Galliani on Tuesday, Milan released an official statement confirming his future at San Siro.
The 20 year old played a vital role last season in earning the team a crucial Champions League spot. His influence particularly on the first half of the season was immense and that his single-handed efforts kept the team afloat amidst a crisis of sorts is beyond debate. After Mario Balotelli’s arrival midway in the season, El Shaarawy did experience a severe dip in his personal form but still remains a very important player to this youth project at Milan which is believed to be the way forward under the current management which has categorically denied splurging cash in an inflated market.
The official statement from the club read,
‘Stephan has always been a fan of AC Milan and has reiterated his determination to continue playing in the Rossoneri shirt. This feeling has been reciprocated by Milan, with conviction and confidence.
‘Milan and El Shaarawy move forward together, as from June 2011. Milan, the Rossoneri colours and the Pharaoh Rossoneri remain absolutely together.’
However, in the recent past, Milan have similarly denied selling their ace players at the outset only to attract better deals as the transfer window approaches its business end. Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all eventually sold after repeatedly billing them ‘unsellable’. The collective sale of Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic at the end of the 2011-12 season where the club finished second to Juventus, stirred a hornet’s nest and invited strong protests from the ultras. This also had an impact on the sales of Milan’s season tickets and the troublesome start to the following season is no co-incidence.
Milan might not want to lose the confidence of the fans all over again by selling what many believe is their most prized asset. Milan had had a wonderful second half of the season where they outperformed every other team in the league. Now is the time to build on that momentum and selling El Shaarawy is exactly the kind of regressive move that might halt the potential progress from this point. At this stage, Milan need to strengthen the squad in some areas and the other major priority is to clear out some deadwood to significantly reduce the wage bill that is among the highest ones in all clubs across Europe.
But knowing Adriano Galliani’s shrewdness in dealing with fans and Silvio Berlusconi’s much exposed personal troubles, no player is presently untouchable at Milan. Should one of the interested parties raise the bid enough – like PSG did last season – you may hardly ignore the possibility of seeing El Shaarawy play his trade elsewhere come September.