Rafael Leao is one of Europe’s most coveted players in Europe ahead of the summer transfer window.
Chelsea face an abundance of fresh competition in the race to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao, according to a report from Italy. The 23-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer as Todd Boehly looked to bolster the club’s frontline.
A deal failed to materialise, but the Blues are said to be monitoring the winger’s situation amid talks with the Rossoneri over a new deal. Leao, who currently sees his deal with the Italian giants expire in 2024, reportedly has a €150million (£130.5million) release clause in his contract.
Milan have stepped up their efforts to hold onto the Portugal international as the Serie A champions plan to hold a meeting with Leao’s father to discuss his son’s future, according to Fabrizio Romano. But that hasn’t fended off the handful of European titans who are looking to snatch the forward’s signature.
According to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, as quoted by Milan News, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are rivalling Chelsea for Leao. However, while Todd Boehly faces competition, the Portuguese star must first be tempted into an exit which at the moment looks unlikely.
Speaking at Gran Gala del Calcio awards, Milan sporting director Ricky Massara claimed that the club are confident that Leao will pen an extension. Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, he said: “We are confident. We want to consolidate this growth that the boy has had and stabilise the team to give continuity at the highest levels, and we will try to find a solution to continue for a long time with Leao.”
Even if a move to Chelsea was close, Leao has been advised against joining the Blues. In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, as quoted by Football Italia, the former Rossoneri striker Jean Pierre Papin said: “Maldini said that if he wants to become even stronger, he must stay. I agree with Paolo.
“Leao must look at Chelsea’s squad and ask himself: ‘How much space would I find as a starter? At Milan, he is untouchable,” he added. “He knows how to express himself, and he knows his teammates perfectly. Staying and growing in the Rossoneri is the best choice.”