Higuain needs to knuckle down, warns AC Milan Sporting Director

MILAN (AFP) – AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain needs to knuckle down and start working, Sporting Director Leonardo said, amid reports linking the unsettled Argentine international with Chelsea.

Higuain, 31, joined Milan on a season-long loan from Juventus in July following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin but has struggled to settle at the San Siro.

The former Napoli player ended his two-month goal-scoring drought before the winter break with the winner against SPAL, bringing his tally to six goals in 15 Serie A games – below his rate at his previous clubs.

“A goal can change things, but if he is to continue here, he needs to take on responsibility,” warned Leonardo.

“He had a tough moment, he has to put it behind him and get to work.”

AC Milan’s Gonzalo Higuain celebrates at the end of a Serie A match against SPAL. – AP

Milan have an option to buy Higuain who has also been linked with a possible move to join former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea.

“There’s no point following rumours and gossip,” said Leonardo.

“He is here right now. Seeing as he is here, he needs to get down and actually do something for this team.”

AC Milan have crashed out of the Europa League and dropped to fifth in Serie A.

Brazilian Leonardo also confirmed there have been no formal offers for Italian forward Fabio Borini or Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic who have been linked to Chinese club Shenzhen and Turkish outfit Besiktas respectively.

Leonardo was speaking during the presentation of new Brazilian signing Lucas Paqueta, who arrived from Flamengo on a four-and-a-half year deal worth 35 million euros.

“Milan is the right place for me,” said Paqueta, describing himself as “a technical player with a good physique”.

The 21-year-old could make his debut in the Italian Cup against Sampdoria on Saturday or next week’s Italian Super Cup match against Juventus.