Mirabelli: Milan didn't plan to sign Bonucci from Juventus

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The director acknowledged his club – bankrolled by new Chinese owners – did not set out to sign the star defender

What started out as a joke quickly became reality for AC Milan as they prised Leonardo Bonucci away from Italian champions Juventus, according to director Massimiliano Mirabelli.

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Milan have been busy overhauling their squad but Vincenzo Montella's men stunned the world when they managed to sign Serie A-winning defender Bonucci for €42 million last month.

Mirabelli admitted Milan – bankrolled by new Chinese owners – did not plan to sign the 30-year-old centre-back.

"Bonucci's transfer wasn't planned, but it was an opportunity we had to grab as it went past," he Rai Sport.

"I was talking to [agent Alessandr] Lucci about other players and he kept making jokes about Bonucci. Over the first few days, I didn't even tell [CEO Marco] Fassone.

"Then I saw the lad really did want to come to Milan and we worked out the negotiations very quickly."

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After years of mediocrity, Milan have invested heavily in 2017-18, signing Bonucci, Andre Silva, Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti, Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie and Fabio Borini.

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Milan could still add to their squad before the transfer window shuts, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andrea Belotti, Nikola Kalinic and former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic all linked to San Siro.

Asked about the possible return of Ibrahimovic or Aubameyang, Mirabelli said: "We'll look at what is out there and you never know in life.

"A few old faces may well return, but I do not intend to allude to Ibrahimovic. We're keeping our feet on the ground and evaluating the situation."

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