Ibrahimovic declares Maignan, Theo and Leao will stay: “They are happy”

By Oliver Fisher -

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has declared that AC Milan will not sell any of the star trio of Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez or Rafael Leao this summer.

There has been some rather worrying talk in the media about the potential sale of Theo this summer, as well as Maignan, and even though things are quieter on the Leao front there is always talk of other clubs monitoring him.

The financial situation that Milan finds itself in is positive. The data on the growth of the brand’s value and the self-sustainability process carried out by Elliott Management and then continued by RedBird Capital have been clear to see. That means there is no need to sell before buying.

Ibrahimovic spoke in front of around 70 journalists at Milanello and the event began with a question and answer session on stage with one of the Milan TV journalists, and then the questions were opened up to the floor. You can read it in full here.

Will Maignan, Leao and Theo stay?

“Yes, yes, they will stay. Maignan, Theo and Leao remain, they are among the strongest in the roles they play. They have a contract with us, they’ll stay and they are happy. We don’t need to sell. Thanks to RedBird’s work we have the opportunity to bring in strong players and improve the team.

“The club brought in 12 players last year I think it was, we laid the foundation and now the details count to improve the team. We are looking for a striker, then the market is every day. We have a scouting system around the clock.

“Then there are 1000 calls every day where players offer. Then from this, to finalise a player is a process that we are doing. He may be the strongest in the world, but if he isn’t our profile he isn’t for us.”

You said Theo and Maignan will stay. Their contracts run out in 2026, are there renewal talks?

“Everything is possible. I don’t know their requests, maybe you know more than me. It’s always an internal thing, we talk. But anything is possible. Thanks to the work of RedBird there is the possibility of doing these things.

“Then where we get there are two parts: if someone tells me that he doesn’t want to be here it’s a problem. If they don’t want to win i The two of them are very happy, they have made history and must continue to make it.”


Tags AC Milan Mike Maignan Rafael Leao Theo Hernandez Zlatan Ibrahimovic


      1. Well he’ll be back this season. He was out for a year, it’s like a big injury for some players. Meanwhile Reijnders or Musah have yet to prove they can be worth 70M€.

        1. I was hoping one or at a stretch maybe two of the players from Tonali’s money to replace Tonali’s output for his position. Instead it took all of 3 players to do so. What a farce!

          1. Same here.
            Musah especially was a waste (I know he is a kid and has room for growth, but he didn’t solve any problem and frankly I don’t understand what did they saw in him).
            Instead of Loftus-Cheek, Reijnders and Musah (who together cost a little bit south of 60M€) we could have gone for a superb mezzala and a superb defensive midfielder and maybe kept a few cash for another position.
            Again it’s not that I think RLC or Reijnders are bad, they’re decent, but that’s pretty much it.

        2. How many season tonali in serie A before NU buy him 70m euro ? This is tiji first season in serie A. And if ACM selling tiji 70m euro , you will say owner only want profit while if tiji dont reach 70m euro you will say he is trash player below tonali. Do you think Tonali team mate & coach will.welcome him with red carpet and give him starter position ?? No , they will suspicious him betting again . Betting cannot be cured once you get addicted as long as you have money. Tonali also persuade his junior at italy NT for betting too . Ex ACM player paqueta now facing heavy punishment because directly involving himself in field for betting. In my personal opinion tiji will surpass tonali if he keep his last season form or even increase his form

          1. That’s a lot of claims that are not facts but your personal opinion, that you have the right to express here of course. But you don’t know anything about what teammates and coach think, that’s mere speculation.

            Facts are that 23 years old Tonali was sold for 70M and that our midfield has been terrible last season, after he left. Coincidence? Maybe. Reijnders is 25 years old. I support him, I hope he’ll do well at the Euro (not against France though). Musah is 21 years old. He played mostly as a right winger for Valencia, played almost everywhere for us and he didn’t show anything besides good athletic abilities. Loftus-Cheek has been inconsistent. None of them has been worthy of a starting spot, two of them are obviously starters by default because the midfield has no quality (Adli, Pobega and Krunic were the competitors).

  1. There’s a qualifier on there that he snuck in – “if someone tells me he doesn’t want to be here it’s a problem”

    If one of them is sold, it’ll be because they’ve made it clear they want to go, that’s all – he’s just saying the club isn’t looking to sell them, but you’d expect that for leverage in negotiations anyway.

    I hope they stay, I hope they sign new contracts. But until the deadline has passed, I won’t be 100% convinced.

    1. Right. Plus, maybe they want to be here, but only as long as they get what they want for their next contract. Which Ibra admitted is completely up in the air as of right now.

      So unfortunately, his statement that they are going to stay really doesn’t mean much at this point.

      1. His statement say Milan want to keep them. But if the players want to leave they can’t do anything about it. It is how he said it is.

        1. It also means we have yet to receive a big offer for any of them and that we didn’t start the renewal discussions with them.

  2. If the scouting system was indeed strong we’d have signed pavlidis already.. now it looks like he will go to Portugal for less than 20M.

    And last summer. Hjulmand. Total missed and very much needed signing. Went to Portugal for 20M

    1. 23/24
      Openda 40m
      Sesko 24m

      RB Leipzig know how to scout a striker.
      That is the stage we need to be buying at, not after they are wanted by all of europe

      1. You are right.. the management miss out when the player are cheap but go al in and hard when the prize have doubled…. Their so called moneyball is not doing anything special than what normal scout will do. i can clubs without moneyball buy young talented and cheap quality players that Milan managements

      2. It’s like they’re paying the regret price. Instead they should be strong and pay for the next one which they won’t regret

  3. I would like to believe this but it’s hard.

    He better not be wrong or he will be a real villain.
    Zlatan works for Redbird not Milan, so I don’t fully trust what they say.
    Even if a player wants to leave, like maybe Theo, we should refuse. It makes it far too easy for them to force a transfer.

    1. “Even if a player wants to leave, like maybe Theo, we should refuse.”

      Yeah. Keeping a players against his will and making him miserable sounds like a good way of making him play well for the team. 🙂

      1. It happens all the time bb. Most players in that situation get on with their job. Both because they respect the club and they want their own career to flourish.
        I’m sure if we tell Theo we have an offer from Madris but we are not willing to sell, he will do his best.

        Otherwise you make it far too easy for players to force an exit

  4. I’m very skeptical about how Zlatan talks about Leao, Maignan and Theo.
    On one hand he says: “They have a contract with us, they’ll stay and they are happy.” but then he says : “Everything is possible. I don’t know their requests, maybe you know more than me.”. Zlatan always had this way of talking, but if he doesn’t know their request, how can he be so sure that they’re happy ? When was the last time he talked to them personally ?
    As far as we know, no official offer came for either of them, so the management can’t openly say that they intend of selling any, but will they refuse 80M€ for Theo or 100M€ for Leao ? I doubt that. Also I think the Lopetegui episode taught them not to be quick to say some stuff.

  5. The thing is, if Theo/Maignan aren’t signing extension this season (24/25), it’s gonna be awkward in the following season (25/26) when they could follow Kessie/Gigio/Hakan/Romagnoli’s footsteps at the end of that season.

    It is in Theo/Maignan’s best interest to keep saying that they want to stay, but without signing a new contract SOON, best believe that they will get sold nevertheless.

    Then we will have new drama.. Those defending the management would say, if they truly loved us they would’ve signed.. And the rest would be mad for us not satisfying their demands (probably gonna be less extreme in Maignan’s case though).

    Ah well, here we go again I guess.

    1. Yep, two years out is the last time that the club really have leverage. We see more and more players leaving on a free because it makes sense for them to do, as they basically have the ability to get a higher salary and huge signing bonus in lieu of a transfer fee.

  6. We keep saying sign this, do this, do that. a report claims milan was deep in negotiations for two months and the last day the agent decided to ask for enormous sums. give this management a break. who want 2-3months of hard work blown up.

    Arsenal & Chelsea signed a lot of strong talent and world class footballers and yet no result.

    comparing the sale of tonali to the purchase of RLC , Rei & Musah. tonali was worse is first season with us just like how musah is now.

    Rei & RLC showed better performances in their first season compared to Tonali first. and you here whining like cry babies.

    For me Rei will be a better midfielder if he can work on his short and musah can improve if we develop him into 1 position and not asking him to play 3-4positions in a match. I didn’t support selling tonali at first but at the long run the picture became clear and I was happy we did.

    With Tonali in our previous campaign and Rei plus RLC out I doubt we would have made it to 2nd. Even before his sale we sat in btw 4-5th praying for a team to drop point. just spare the management with this whining.

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