AC Milan forward and Arsenal target Stephan El Shaarawy has signed a new contract with the Serie A outfit that will keep him at San Siro till 2018.

The 20-year-old, who joined Milan from Genoa in 2011, has been in sublime form this season, with 19 goals and five assists to his name from 33 appearances. Several top European clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester City, were understood to be showing interest in the Italy international but the Rossoneri has now tied him down to an extension.

Stephan El Shaarawy

El Shaarawy was handed an improved deal running till June 2017 last summer but Milan were keen to extend it further as they identify the versatile forward as a key member of the young side they are building.

"Stephan El Shaarawy has extended his contract with the club to 30 June 2018. The Pharaoh will be wearing red and black for long time to come. The contract extension replaces the deal signed on 25 July which expired in June 2017. Since arriving at the club in the summer of 2011, The player's growth has been fast and constant. El Shaarawy and Milan will continue to walk together. At least until 2018," read a statement on the club's web site.

Arsene Wenger has been a long-term admirer of El Shaarawy and had hinted last month that he could make an approach for the Milan star in the near future.

"El Shaarawy is a very mobile, very technical young player. His philosophy fits perfectly with mine," Wenger said. When asked if he was pondering a move for the Milan man, the manager replied: "You never know. I just say I love the way he plays."

Meanwhile, El Shaarawy has also expressed his delight after penning down a new deal with the Serie A giants.

"I am happy to renew. I have extended my contract until 2018. I am happy and proud to wear this shirt," the youngster tweeted.

Milan are currently fourth in Serie A, a point ahead of city rivals Inter Milan.