Niang in talks over AC Milan exit, confirms Montella

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AC Milan forward M'Baye Niang is in talks with the club over the prospect of a January exit, head coach Vincenzo Montella has confirmed.

A number of Premier League clubs have been linked with a move for the 22-year-old, including West Ham, Crystal Palace and Everton, for whom he had a trial back in 2012.

However, reports in Italy on Monday claimed that Niang is considering an offer from Torino, while Milan have also been in discussions with Genoa over a possible swap deal involving Marseille loanee Lucas Ocampos.

Montella would not be drawn on the potential suitors but he did confirm that Niang will play no part in the Coppa Italia quarter-final against Juventus while his future is decided.

"Niang might leave the club," Montella confirmed to Milan TV. "He's discussing it with the management. He won't be called up for the game against Juve as I thought he would definitely have been distracted."

He added at a news conference: "He's always been involved in normal situations. Sometimes he's been on the fringes but he's never been out. As long as he's a Milan player he'll get the consideration he deserves.

"He has made himself available right from the start and he's trying to grow so he can manage his talent better.

"He's a player who has had his ups and downs and there are things he needs to improve. We tried, and we got to a point where we were delighted with the results - the boy was, too - and I'm not talking about technical results.

"He got to a certain point and then stopped, and I won't pretend to know why, nor do I want to say.

"I didn't like the attitude that he showed when he came on against Torino, and he acknowledged that. He's done more in the past, as he would also admit.

"If he stays here, we'll try again. If he goes elsewhere then I hope he succeeds."

New signing Gerard Deulofeu could be in line to make his debut against Juve, however, as Montella expressed his eagerness to help the former Barcelona youngster fulfil his potential.

"He's a player I know very well because I've been following him for some time," he said. "He has all the talent in the world but hasn't expressed it fully.

"One of my tasks will be to see why that is, because he's a really strong player.

"We signed him to play him. We'll see how he is physically but he's keen to make his mark."

Wednesday's meeting is the first between the sides since Milan triumphed on penalties in the Supercoppa Italiana in December.

Montella hopes Juve become distracted by thoughts of revenge but conceded that any loss of focus from the holders is unlikely.

"I hope they're angry because then you're less lucid," he added.

"I doubt that will be the case, though, as they're too experienced. We'll try to go through."