The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been a key figure for the Rossoneri and he would welcome the opportunity to remain with Vincenzo Montella’s side

Mario Pasalic is proud to play for AC Milan and would relish the chance to sign a permanent deal, his agent has said.

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The 21-year-old has battled back from fitness problems to become an important part of Vincenzo Montella’s plans at the San Siro.

Pasalic struck the decisive penalty as Milan defeated Juventus to win the Supercoppa Italiana last week, although there has been speculation that he could be recalled by Chelsea during the transfer window.

But the midfielder’s representative says he already has Milan “in his heart” and is grateful for the belief in his abilities shown by Montella.

“He’s very proud to have scored the decisive penalty and wear the AC Milan shirt,” Marko Naletilic said, as quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Montella has shown great faith in him and has given him confidence after his long injury. This is something Mario appreciates a lot. He still has room for improvement – he’s at 70 per cent now.

“His future will depend on several factors: on Chelsea, Milan, and him, of course.

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“His wish counts and I can say that Mario already has AC Milan in his heart.”

Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has previously suggested that the club could utilise an option in their agreement with Chelsea that would see Pasalic sign on a permanent basis.

“Pasalic is a player who did well at youth level but his progress was stalled by injuries. He can come back to being what he was,” he said.

“In Croatia, Pasalic is considered to be on the same level as Luka Modric, who is one of the best midfielders in the world. We had this opportunity, we do have the option to buy and we’ll see what to do next summer.”