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MILAN are believed to have told Barcelona that they can keep Italian defender Francesco Coco, despite his impressive performances in La Liga and the Champions League.

Coco's position is made all the more unclear by the player's own assertion that he transferred to the Catalan giants permanently.  However, in any case Milan have told Barca they are welcome to the defender and will not seek his return in the December transfer window.  The most commonly held belief is that Barca have a purchase option for Coco, which could be as recent as January.

Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "He (Coco) is a great player and he is doing it very well,
but we can do without him.

"The current Milan team can do without Coco.  I don't think it's suitable to talk about his return now."

Coco arrived in Barcelona at the beginning of the season on a loan deal worth around 400 million pesetas (£1.44 million), something the player contested.  His option price is believed to be 2,600 million pesetas (£9.69 million).

Following an injury to Sergi Barjuan, Coco has become a fixture in the Barcelona side and could join Fabricio Coloccini, who has a similar deal at Alaves as his countryman, as one that got away from Milan.