Mi­lan lands prize Pa­queta

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

MI­LAN — AC Mi­lan has reached an agree­ment to sign ris­ing Brazil­ian star Lu­cas Pa­queta while Swedish vet­eran Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic could re­turn to the club, sport­ing direc­tor Leonardo said on Thurs­day.

The Serie A gi­ant is re­ported to have agreed a 35 mil­lion euro ($40.6 mil­lion) deal with Fla­mengo — the club Pa­queta joined as a 10-yearold — in what would be the most ex­pen­sive sign­ing of a Brazil­ian player by an Ital­ian club.

The 21-year-old com­pleted his med­i­cal in Rio on Wed­nes­day and should ar­rive in Mi­lan in Jan­uary.

“We have a ba­sic agree­ment with Fla­mengo, but the mar­ket doesn’t re­open un­til Jan­uary so there’s still a lit­tle bit to go be­fore it’s of­fi­cial,” Brazil­ian Leonardo told jour­nal­ists af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Lied­holm Award, an Ital­ian prize which hon­ors those who em­body the val­ues of sport.

“Now we can only think of the league and the Europa League, not the trans­fer mar­ket.

“At the mo­ment he’s a Fla­mengo player, he still has some Brazil­ian league matches to play. We have to wait for Jan­uary 3.”

Leonardo con­firmed that Mi­lan has also “thought about” sign­ing Ibrahi­movic, who joined LA Gal­axy this sea­son and has a con­tract through the 2019 sea­son with the Ma­jor League Soc­cer side.

Ibrahi­movic played for Mi­lan from 2010 to 2012, win­ning a Serie A ti­tle with the club, be­fore mov­ing to Paris Saint-Ger­main and then Manch­ester United.

Leonardo, a for­mer Mi­lan and Paris Saint-Ger­main mid­fielder, was direc­tor of soc­cer at PSG when the Swedish striker joined.

“It’s nor­mal that there’s a per­sonal con­nec­tion with him. When we first ar­rived we thought about it, even at the age of 37 he can drive a team,” said Leonardo.

“Right now the trans­fer win­dow is closed, we have to do things calmly and not for­get that there are some Fi­nan­cial Fair Play stakes. We want to build a com­pet­i­tive team.”

In ad­di­tion to his two sea­sons with the Ros­soneri, the Swede ear­lier won three Serie A ti­tles with city ri­vals In­ter, and also played two sea­sons with Ju­ven­tus.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Pa­queta — who can play both in mid­field and as a striker — has agreed a five-year deal worth $1.7 mil­lion per sea­son.

Pa­queta was called up to the Brazil squad for the first time in Au­gust for friendlies against the United States and El Sal­vador.

He had also been tar­geted by other top Euro­pean clubs, in­clud­ing Liver­pool, Manch­ester City, PSG, Lazio and Barcelona.

Leonardo, who also be­gan his ca­reer at Fla­mengo, re­port­edly played a key role in Pa­queta’s move to the San Siro.

Fla­mengo will re­ceive 70 per­cent of the 35 mil­lion euro trans­fer fee, with the re­main­der to be di­vided be­tween the player and Brazil’s soc­cer fed­er­a­tion.

REUTERS

Fla­mengo’s Lu­cas Pa­queta, who will join AC Mi­lan on Jan 3, cel­e­brates scor­ing against Corinthi­ans on Oct 5.

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