Former AC Milan striker Gilardino urges Cutrone to leave the club

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The former Rossoneri forward believes the 21-year-old should place his future in club football elsewhere in order to become a better player

Patrick Cutrone should leave AC Milan in order to improve himself as a player, according to former San Siro striker Alberto Gilardino.

Italy Under-21 forward Cutrone, thought to be valued at €25 million (£22m/$28m) by Milan, scored for his country at the U21 European Championship against Belgium on Saturday, rekindling speculation about his future at club level.

The 21-year-old was the subject of interest from clubs in La Liga and the Bundesliga in January according to his agent, and Gilardino told Gazzetta dello Sport that he should seek more regular first-team opportunities elsewhere after making just 12 starts for Milan last season.

Asked whether he would advise Cutrone to leave, former Italy international Gilardino replied: "Yes, because he would have more chances to play continuously.

"His future may lie away from Milan, where he might be given the chance to become a very important player."

Cutrone's second full season as a first-team player for the Rossoneri saw him score just three Serie A goals – seven fewer than he netted in 2017-18, despite making six more appearances.

His opportunities in the first-team may be limited moving forward however, with Krzysztof Piatek now the main man in Milan’s attack having scored nine goals in 18 games last season.

Gilardino, who struck 36 goals in 94 league appearances for Milan from 2005 to 2008, believes the striker would be a worthwhile investment for another club despite his high price tag.

"This year he has improved and can already do everything," said Gilardino, who won the Champions League with Milan in 2007.

"[He can] play out wide, behind the main striker, or as a centre-forward.

"He is young and already expensive, but I would sign him."

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Departing Milan could prove to be a difficult decision for Cutrone, who has been on the books with the Serie A club since 2007.

He was handed his first professional contract at the San Siro in March 2015 aged 17, and made his senior debut against Bologna in May 2017.

The 21-year-old has since gone on to score 27 goals in 90 appearances for Milan across all competitions.