Stefano Pioli would like to work with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan again next season now his own future has been settled – and he has tipped Rafael Leao to “detonate” in 2020-21.

Veteran striker Ibrahimovic came back to the Rossoneri on a transient deal in January and has scored seven goals in 16 Serie An appearances.

Ibrahimovic had been connected to an exit at the finish of the campaign with Bologna having been tentatively connected, while an arrival to his native Sweden was said to be on the cards.

The 38-year-old himself said for the current week he remains uncertain as to what will happen, yet Pioli – who marked another contract to 2022 on Wednesday after Milan picked not to seek after a deal to acquire Ralf Rangnick – feels that his own situation being arranged could sway Ibrahimovic to stay in Milan.

“The commitment he has given to our development is apparent. I would like to work with him again, however, there are as yet many things that must be put on the table,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia after Milan’s 1-1 draw with Atalanta on Friday.

“There’s no uncertainty about the fact that he is still well and can carry on, however it relies upon many various aspects.

“I accept he and the club haven’t spoken at this point. There was still no certainty as to who the coach would have been, and I accept the talks have not been arranged because of this reason.”

One player Pioli will have the chance to work with is Leao, who was marked from Lille for an announced €35 million (£32m/$39m) last July and has indicated flashes of his undoubted potential, scoring five goals in 29 top-flight games.

Pioli stated the 21-year-old attacker is performing preferred in training over in matches yet hopes for something else to come next term.


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