AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli remained coy when asked about reported interest in Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa, a report claims.
The Rossoneri begin their 2020-21 season on Thursday night in Dublin with a second round Europa League qualifying match against Shamrock Rovers.
Despite this, it would be fair to say attention is divided between a return to action and the transfer market, with suggestions that Paolo Maldini and the rest of the management are looking to put the finishing touches to the squad.
Pioli gave an exclusive interview to DAZN about the transfer window, new signing Sandro Tonali and the current situation, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews.
“Here at Milanello there is a positive air, there is compactness, sharing with the club, with the owners. Our transfer campaign started from afar, we wanted to give continuity to what was built last year,” he began.
“The renewal of Zlatan, the reconfirmation of Kjaer, the acquisition of Rebic… these are all very important signs that have allowed us to continue in this direction.
“With the new arrivals of Tonali and Diaz, the company has shown that it wants to grow and try to improve the team, for this I am very satisfied, for this I thank Elliott for the efforts made.
“Now we start again, we must start again with spirit and attention to face opponents who will surely be better than us, it is inevitable, they have played 12 league games, they are a good team, great respect, but also a great desire to show that we are Milan.”
On the condition of the team: “We made an important effort in the second half of the season, not only in the post lockdown but from January onwards, now we have to try to bring home the first result which would be to return to Europe, to return to where it competes.
“This is an important target, we prepared in the best possible way, three weeks is not long but I found the players well. We know the difficulties we will face but we know that we must take advantage of this opportunity to go come on.”
On Ibrahimovic: “He is the usual Ibra: determined, eager, competitive. He is fine with us, he is fine with the team, with his teammates, he is eager to give his contribution.
“We have never left each other, we have been continuously contact during the holidays, there were no new things to tell us, the important thing is to go back to work with the desire and the necessary passion. Was I sure of the renewal? Yes, I knew ours and his will, I was very confident.”
About Tonali: “Mature, both in the way he plays and in his attitude. He is a very serious boy with excellent qualities, it is clear that he has to find the best condition, he had problems before arriving and it will take some time, but very mature for his age, he knows what he wants from this experience, I am very happy that he has arrived.
“It is the presence on the pitch that is important, he does not play like he is in his twenties, he plays as a player who knows how to read situations, proactive in both the game phases, he has ample room for improvement, but he has important qualities and characteristics from which he can grow further.
“He is certainly among the strongest young people in Italy, he is already an Italian national, even here I appreciated the effort of the ownership that took an important prospectus.a player who will be able to guarantee AC Milan a present and a satisfying future.”
On the transfer market: “The club said it is willing to improve this squad if there is the possibility, the transfer market is still long, I’m only sorry to have many players not recovered from last season’s injuries.
“When we are fully fit we will be a competitive team, we are young but we are growing well, then later if there is the possibility to improve in some position we will not be caught unprepared.
“At centre-back? At the moment the injuries of Romagnoli and Musacchio limit us choices, I hope to recover Duarte for the first league game, then we’ll see what can happen.”
Finally, Pioli was asked about the chance of reuniting with a player he knows well from his time at Fiorentina in Federico Chiesa, a player the Rossoneri continue to be strongly linked with.
“I’m very happy with the players I have at my disposal, I have directors and an important technical area that needs to think about the transfer market, I have to focus on the next matches, on the first one that must be faced with the right approach. We have friendlies. faced with the right desire, the first official match will have to tell us many things.”