United States defender Sergino Dest has been removed from AC Milan‘s squad for the Champions League knockout phase, amid a struggle to establish himself at the Serie A club.
Dest, 22, only joined Milan on a season-long loan from Barcelona at the end of the summer transfer window. The deal includes an option for Milan to make the move permanent at the end of the season for a fee of €20 million.
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But after starting just one game in the group phase, Dest will now not feature for Milan in the Champions League again this season. He has instead been replaced in the squad by fellow defender Malick Thiaw ahead of Milan’s round of 16 tie against Tottenham Hotspur.
There is no place in the squad, either, for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the 41-year-old still recovering from an ACL injury suffered in May 2022. France goalkeeper Mike Maignan is another injury absentee, but could be added to the squad before the first leg at home to Tottenham on Feb. 14 should his recovery progress.
Dest, born in the Netherlands and formerly of Ajax, has established himself as a key player for the U.S. men’s national team since declaring his allegiance for the country in 2019. He played all four games for the USMNT as they reached the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar before being eliminated by the Netherlands.
However, Dest has found minutes with Milan far harder to come by. He has started just two Serie A games and completed the full 90 minutes only once, in a 4-0 loss to Lazio on Jan. 24.