Arsene Wenger can cross off another striker off his summer transfer target list with AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy understood to be on the verge of signing a long-term deal to stay at the club.

20 year-old El Shaarawy started his career at Genoa and had an impressive loan spell at Serie B side Padova before AC Milan snapped him up in 2011. The striker has established his first team place at Milan, starting in each of their 24 Serie A matches this season. He has netted 17 goals for Milan this season and Wenger was planning a swoop for the prolific Italy international this summer.

The Gunners manager had openly admitted his interest in El Shaarawy but TalkSPORT revealed that the player has agreed in principle to a new deal that would keep him at the San Siro till 2018. Milan have purchased Mario Balotelli just weeks back and the Italian duo are expected to form a powerful strike pairing over the years to come.

The new deal could bump up El Shaarawy’s asking price to £35 million and Wenger is unlikely to shell out that much money for a player this summer. Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic and Barcelona’s David Villa remain options for the manager and they would cost him significantly less when he seeks to reinforce his attack at the end of the season.

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