Stefano Pioli has confirmed that the Milan management are in talks over the possibility of keeping Ismael Bennacer and Samuel Chukwueze a bit beyond their expected call-up date for the African Cup of Nations.
In the month of January into the first part of February, the Africa Cup of Nations will take place in the Ivory Coast and Milan are expected to lose two of their key performers in Chukwueze and Bennacer, the latter of whom has just come back from a length injury lay-off.
Sky reported earlier in the week that Milan have opened dialogues with their respective federations Nigeria and Algeria, to convince their national teams to let them leave Italy on 3 January, so as to have them available for the cup.
Pioli spoke during his pre-match press conference on the eve of the game against Sassuolo and he was asked if Bennacer and Chukwueze might be available for the Coppa Italia tie versus Cagliari on January 2.
“I know they are talking. There is hope, but there is no certainty. They are negotiating,” he said (via MilanNews).
Whether Algeria and Nigeria will accept the proposal is therefore not yet known, but it must be added that the first game involving either player isn’t until January 14, with the earlier call-up date for training camps.