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Putin linked with Milan investment

Speculation is increasing in Italy that Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to invest in AC Milan via the partially state-owned utility company Gazprom.

• Allegri: Juve are favourites
• Dzeko hints at Milan move

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister, told the club's own TV station he was willing to speak to potential investors, marking a distinct change in outlook from his previous stance.

Asked about foreign investors, he said: "The doors are open for anyone who wants to help our squad. We have Milan in our hearts and we are always thinking about what's best for Milan."

Following the sales of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain, Milan have cleared the majority of their debts and he added: "Our finances will now be in order for the next three to four years."

Berlusconi is a close friend of Putin and La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that he travelled to Russia for four days on "non-political" business. Talks over Gazprom buying a stake in the seven-time European champions are believed to be the reason.

Gazprom already invests heavily in the sport and is the shirt sponsor of 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade, Russian side Zenit St Petersburg and Budesliga outfit Schalke. The Italian sports daily believes the company will purchase a 25% stake in return for a €180 million cash injection.

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