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AC Milan confirm Paqueta deal, Ibrahimovic a possibility

Milan (AFP) – AC Milan have reached agreement to sign rising Brazilian star Lucas Paqueta with Swedish veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic a possibility to return to Italy, club sporting director Leonardo said on Thursday.

The Serie A giants are reported to have agreed a 35 million euro ($40.4 million) deal with Flamengo – the club Paqueta joined as a ten-year-old – 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 re-open 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 honours 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 the club have 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 AC 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 midfielder who also played for both PSG and Milan, was director of football at the Parisian club 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 Milan, the Swede earlier won three Serie A titles with city rivals Inter Milan, 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 1.5 million euro ($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 top European clubs including Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Lazio, Barcelona and Manchester City. 

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 euros transfer fee and the remainder to be divided between the player and the Brazilian federation.

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