Controversial AC Milan striker M'Baye Niang has all but ended speculation linking him with a potential move to Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur this summer, insisting he is happy to stay at the San Siro for the foreseeable future. The former France U21 international was the subject of an unsuccessful €16m (£13.3m, $17.6m) offer from Leicester City in January and was again said to be in Claudio Ranieri's thoughts before the champions elected to seal a club-record deal for Ahmed Musa of CSKA Moscow.
Niang has also attracted interest from Everton and West Ham United, while The Mail reported in May that Liverpool and Spurs were both set to dispatch scouts to observe him during Milan's Coppa Italia final defeat to Juventus. Liverpool were even said to have tentatively proposed a swap deal involving underwhelming Rossoneri loanee Mario Balotelli, only to see the offer rebuffed due an £11m price tag.
"I have never talked about the transfer market and never thought about leaving," Niang told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'm a Milan player, I'm happy here and I will stay at Milan. I want to be an important part of this team."
Ex-Caen forward Niang, who has previously been dispatched for loan spells with Montpellier and Genoa, scored eight goals in 20 appearances across all competitions for Milan last term before being sidelined for three months as a result of ankle and shoulder injuries sustained during a road accident.
He also missed the opening 10 games of the 2015/16 campaign with a fractured toe, and was criticised last month after social media footage emerged of him apparently risking further injury by jumping into a swimming pool from the roof of a friend's villa.
His employers were said to be angered by that incident, with a fine handed down and general manager Adriano Galliani reportedly even contemplating selling the player. That furore now seems to have mellowed, however, with Niang intent on learning from new head coach Vincenzo Montella. His previous misdemeanours also include a suspended 18-month prison sentence for a hit-and-run accident in 2014.
"We worked a lot with the ball over the past few weeks and we put what we learned into practice very well," he added. "From the first day I got back, I have been speaking a lot with the coach. Now I know what I have to do if I am to become a champion. I am determined to listen to the coach. I must be good both on the field and off it. I realised the mistakes I've made and I must not repeat them."
Niang started Montella's first game in charge on Saturday (16 July), featuring for 67 minutes of a 2-1 pre-season friendly win over Bordeaux at Stade Alfred Armandie. Former Liverpool midfielder Suso notched a first-half brace to seal victory.