AC Milan "move towards dominant, attacking football" with Paulo Fonseca appointment, says Zlatan

Italian giants AC Milan have confirmed the arrival of Portuguese manager Paulo Fonseca on a three-year contract at San Siro.

Fonseca left Lille at the beginning of the month, opting against extending his contract after two years in France, at the end of which he secured a spot in the Champions League qualifiers for Les Dogues.

Milan announced Fonseca as successor to outgoing boss Stefano Pioli on Thursday morning, after which director Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke at a press conference. The Swede not only offered the reasoning for Fonseca taking the role, but confirmed that Portuguese forward Rafael Leão as well as other key players would be remaining with the club.

“We chose Paulo Fonseca to bring his identity to this group of players, for the way we want this team to play,” said Zlatan, who has joined the club in an executive role under owners RedBird. “We speak and share ideas and strategy every day. Improving the team as individuals and as a collective is a strength of his. This is a move towards dominant, attacking football. Of course balance in defence is important too.

“It’s a fresh energy. We’ll have an even younger squad next season. Paulo Fonseca enjoys and is good at working with young players. We believe that Paulo is a top coach. If not, he wouldn’t be Milan’s head coach.”

There have been reports of Milan being in a strong financial position ahead of the summer transfer window. Zlatan confirmed the Rossoneri are looking at targets in the striker position such as Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee, while also confirming the club’s intention to keep star players such as Rafael Leão.

“Theo [Hernandez] and [Mike] Maignan will stay, Leão too,” he said. “They are among the best players in their positions and have a contract with us, they are happy. We don’t need to sell. Thanks to RedBird’s work we can bring in strong players to improve the squad.”

One such player could be Lille’s right-back Tiago Santos, who flourished in Ligue 1 last season under Fonseca’s guidance. Santos has been linked with a move to the Italians for a fee expected to exceed €12m.

By @SeanGillen9