AC Milan sporting director Leonardo has urged new signing Krzysztof Piatek to earn the No.9 shirt at the club. 

Piatek was given the No.19 shirt upon arrival at the Serie A club.

Does Piatek deserve the No.9 shirt? Here is what you need to know…

  1. Piatek signed for Genoa last summer from Polish side Cracovia, costing the west coast side £3.2m.
  2. The 23-year-old started his career with the club fantastically, scoring 19 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions.
  3. His red-hot form alerted AC Milan, who were in need of a striker due to the lack of success of loanee Gonzalo Higuaín.
  4. Milan signed Piatek for £31m – almost 10 times what Genoa paid six months ago – with the deal confirmed this week.
  5. Consequently, Higuaín moved to Premier League side Chelsea on loan, cutting short his time with Milan.

Milan’s sporting director Leonardo – who also played for Milan among other clubs throughout his playing career – has responded to claims that Piatek was unhappy not to be awarded the famous number nine shirt.

Instead, Piatek was given the number 19 top, with Leonardo stressing that the club’s new striker would have to prove he is worthy to wear the number he desires.

“There’s no superstition behind him not wearing the No 9,” Leonardo said to reporters (via Football Italia)

“We made the decision. He asked for the No 9 but we think that right now, the No 9 should be earned.

“It’s a pretty important number, so we had him choose 19. There is, however, a 9 in it.”

Higuain out, Piatek in.

The arrival of Genoa’s main man spelt the end for Milan’s loanee forward who had only moved to the club in the summer on loan from fellow Serie A side Juventus.

Leaving Turin after they brought in world superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, Higuain only scored six goals in 15 Serie A matches, prompting Milan to look elsewhere as they try and keep their place in the top four.

Leonardo admitted that he didn’t want to talk about Higuain, but rather the club’s new goalscorer.

“There’s not much to say about Higuain. He made his choice and he’s gone. We’re here for Piatek so we’ll talk about him.

“He scored 13 goals in 19 games and immediately showed his qualities. We didn’t plan on signing him and it was an unforeseen investment, but we had the chance to invest and choosing him wasn’t difficult.

“Every decision we make is shared by everyone, even by the Coach. We resolved Higuain’s loan with Juventus and thus we could sign the player we wanted.

“Now we have to see if we can do anything else, but the squad is competitive enough with Piatek and Paqueta.

“Higuain made his choice and there’s little else to say about him. We have players who want to stay with us. We need lads who want to get involved in our project.”

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