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Stefano Pioli expresses desire to keep Brahim Diaz at Milan amid transfer speculation

Pioli wants to keep Brahim Diaz at Milan amid transfer speculation

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has expressed a desire to work with ‘very important’ Brahim Diaz beyond this season amid speculation over his long-term future.

Diaz has bagged five goals and four assists in 26 Serie A appearances and is one of the first names on Pioli’s team sheet every matchday.

The 23-year-old has been a pivotal figure in the Milan dressing room this season as the team continues to push for an unlikely triumph in the Champions League.

The Serie A champions are keen to keep the mesmerising Spanish forward beyond this summer when his loan contract ends. 

However, his parent club Real Madrid are also keen to see him return to Santiago Bernabeu following his exceptional performances in Italy.

Diaz helped Milan beat Napoli in their Champions League semi-final first-leg meeting, setting up Ismael Bennacer to fire Pioli’s side to a 1-0 success.

Speaking in his pre-match conference ahead of the tie decider in Naples, Pioli waxed lyrical about the ability of the Spaniard, insisting he is keen to keep him at the San Siro.

“I think everyone can see that he’s growing a lot,” Pioli said (via Calciomercato). “He’s a young boy, but he has a lot of personality.

“He’s a player who likes being under pressure and knows how to handle it well. He’s growing a lot – he’s becoming a top-level footballer. Of course, I’d like to train him again.”

Madrid have already tied Marco Asensio to a new contract but want Diaz to provide competition for his compatriot on the right flank next season.

Los Blancos have already opened negotiations with the player’s representatives over a new long-term contract, throwing Milan’s chances of keeping him permanently in doubt.

Diaz has spent the last three campaigns on loan at Milan, contributing 17 goals and 11 assists in 114 appearances.

However, his association with the Scudetto champions ends this summer, with a return to the Spanish capital now more likely.

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