Gerard Deulofeu, whose loan stint with AC Milan was concluded with the final league game of the season on Sunday, said his goodbyes to the Italian club and their fans today.
Deulofeu grateful to Milan "for everything"
"The season is at an end. I only have words of thanks for Milan. I was happy here and I feklt the support and the affection not just of my team mates but of the fans too. Thank you with all my heart", Deulofeu wrote on his Instagram account in both Spanish and Italian.
The 23-year-old forward joined AC Milan on loan from Everton in January and was an instant hit with the Rossoneri, taking no time to adapt to his new club and carving out a regular place in the starting XI. He made a total of 17 appearances and scored four goals and created another three.
Now Deulofeu must sit down with his agents and Everton and decide where his future lies. Barcelona have until 30 June to exercise an option to buy him back for 12 million euros and Technical Secretary Robert Fernández confirmed a few months back that the club would look into triggering that buy-back clause. For it to happen though, Barça would also need to persuade the player to accept a return to the club he joined as a nine-year-old. And that might prove harder than Barça's technical department think as with 2018 World Cup Russia around the corner, Deulofeu wants regular playing time more than anything else and several clubs would be willing to give him that. During his five months in Milan, he forged a excellent partnership with former Liverpool player Jesús Fernández Sáez 'Suso', playing just behind Colombian striker Carlos Bacca.