MILAN (AFP) - AC Milan have tied Stephan El Shaarawy to an improved deal that will see the club's top striker remain with the Rossoneri until 2018, the Serie A club announced on Thursday.
"Stephan El Shaarawy and Milan have confirmed today that the young striker's contract has been extended," a statement issued by the club said.
El Shaarawy has been one of the few stand-out performers this season for a team which lost its backbone during a turbulent summer transfer period for the seven-times champions.
The scorer of 16 league goals so far, the Italy international - who has an Egyptian father and Italian mother - helped keep Milan afloat during their worst ever start to a season in Serie A.
Massimiliano Allegri's side have since battled their way back up the table in recent months and now sit in fourth place ahead of their date with third-placed Lazio on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Italian's contract was due to run out in 2017 but Milan were desperate to extend as they see him as a key member of the side they are trying to build for future objectives.
The statement added: "The player's growth has been fast and constant. El Shaarawy and Milan will continue to walk together. At least until 2018."
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said: "We want to build upon a young team for the future and now El Shaarawy is totally protected.
"We have shown the fans we are not in the business of selling our top stars and this will make them happy."
Milan host Lazio on Saturday with the incentive of a top three place in the event of a win at the San Siro.