Italy striker Alberto Gilardino has joined Milan from financially-troubled Parma after the two clubs finally agreed to a transfer fee of 24 million euros (£17m).

The deal ends the summer’s longest-running transfer saga. Milan had initially offered 20 million euros but the administrators running Parma demanded 35 million euros.

Gliardino. who has been the leading scorer in Serie A over the past two seasons, has signed a five-year contract. “I’m very happy, it was a long negotiation that fortunately ended in the best way,” he said.

“Everything about this team fascinates me – the club, the history, the top players who are part of it.

“Why did I choose Milan? Because they are the strongest club in Europe and for me it is a great honour to wear these colours,” he said.

The transfer had been expected to be concluded last week, but Parma administrators held out in the hope of attracting bids from other clubs.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was reported to have set yesterday as the deadline for the deal to be concluded.