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AC Milan contemplate late move for Hugo Ekitike

AC Milan have identified Paris Saint-Germain starlet Hugo Ekitike as a potential back-up option for first-choice striker Olivier Giroud.

Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Milan are eyeing the 21-year-old after their pursuit of Chelsea’s Armando Broja hit a brick wall.

Despite finding himself on the fringes at Stamford Bridge, the Albanian youngster could still reignite his first-team prospects under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Strapped for reliable centre-forward options, the Argentine doesn’t fancy Broja’s departure, although he’d ideally purchase someone to replace the outgoing Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea’s reluctance to negotiate the ex-Southampton forward’s exit has compelled Milan to look elsewhere with their ongoing search for Giroud’s heir leading them to Ekitike.

The French forward joined PSG last summer after an impressive breakout season at Reims but couldn’t replicate that form at the Parc des Princes.

Even with Lionel Messi and Neymar gone, Ekitike isn’t part of Luis Enrique’s plans and could be allowed to leave for around €30 million.

After spending more than any other Serie A club this summer, Milan have no interest in matching that figure, even though they’re desperate to complete another incoming transfer before the curtain drops.

Their idea is to bring Ekitike on loan with an option to buy, and they’re willing to wait until late in the transfer window to get him on favourable terms.

With several French players on their payroll, Milan could convince the talented forward to sign as Giroud’s deputy.

After playing a decisive role in the club’s first Scudetto in over a decade in 2021/22 and netting numerous significant goals last season, the veteran has won over the San Siro faithful.

Stefano Pioli knows the 36-year-old’s game time will require careful management next term, so he’s scouring the market for a younger alternative.

Noah Okafor, who arrived from RB Salzburg this summer, could be the Italian’s go-to option to fill Giroud’s shoes when needed, even though he mainly operates as a winger.

Lorenzo Colombo is another possible solution, but Milan would rather let him leave on another loan to gain experience after a decent 2022/23 Serie A campaign at Lecce.

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