EXCLUSIVE: AC Milan forward Rafael Leao is the subject of interest from a host of clubs around Europe and the Premier League, including Chelsea and Manchester United
Manchester United have joined the race for Portuguese ace Rafael Leao.
The AC Milan forward, 23, has 18 months left on his current contract at the San Siro but has so far rejected his club’s offer of a new five-year deal.That stalemate has alerted Europe’s elite that Leao is likely to be up for grabs next summer for around £60million as Milan will need to cash in while they can rather than lose him on a free. Chelsea have been long-time admirers of the former Sporting Lisbon and Lille forward, who can operate either on the flank or down the middle.
But now Erik Ten Hag and United are ready to compete with their London rivals for Leao’s signature. The Reds have had scouts watching the player, who has scored 27 times in Serie A since arriving in August 2019, several times in the last couple of months.
That includes running the rule over Leao in both of Milan’s recent back-to-back Champions League group defeats to Graham Potter’s revitalised Blues.
Leao is one of the rising stars of the Portuguese national side. He has won 11 caps for his country and is expected to play major part in their World Cup bid in Qatar next month. United entering the transfer equation may even lead to a New Year scrap between themselves and Chelsea. Milan value him at £100m and know the earlier they sell, the closer they will get to receiving that sort of figure.
Leao began his career with Sporting, graduating from their B team in 2017. He only made a handful of appearances for the main side before unilaterally terminating his contract with the club and joining Lille in 2018.
He had one season in France, scoring eight goals in 26 matches, before linking up with Milan in Serie A.