Footballing icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already given his verdict and approval on Rafael Leao as Chelsea plot an ambitious £80million swoop for the AC Milan star. The Blues are in the process of trying to end the summer transfer window with a bang and new owner and interim Sporting Director Todd Boehly has been tasked with backing manager Thomas Tuchel with signings that will propel the west Londoners into the title conversation.
After a start to the season that has garnered a total of four points so far from nine available, Chelsea’s woes have been a mixture of midfield instability, attacking bluntness, defensive frailties and poor mentality, as demonstrated most recently at Elland Road over the weekend.
Once the Blues go a goal down, Tuchel’s side over recent times have never been able to fight their way back into things. A certain trait that will ensure Chelsea are one of the busiest teams in the transfer market from now to September 1.
“I think you do, all of you, make the mistake, and I feel it that they run 11km more, and we lose 3-0. It is a set piece, and a huge mistake and only one team should have led 1-0, and that was us. So everybody knows that they run more. It is nothing to do with mentality,” Tuchel said on the mentality issue in the post-match press conference.
“I don’t think it is the mentality that Edou doesn’t take the right decision. I think it is mentality in set pieces at the moment. But not the big mentality as a headline, please. The mentality in set-pieces is not good enough. Mentality comes down to discipline and doing what we should do and what makes us strong in the first 15-20 minutes.
“It was enough to kill the game and bring it into a direction where it was last season. If they scored the opening chance did what they did, and a win is possible. Maybe you don’t believe me, and I don’t see a connection that we have a huge mentality problem and that we are not ready for what’s coming.”
Maybe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Anthony Gordon and Leao are the three players to change this long-lasting issue. There were reports circulating on Monday suggesting Boehly was in negotiations for an £80m total deal for the Portuguese with players set to go the other way to get somewhat close to the extortionate £130m asking price.
There are rumours that this deal could prove to be ‘mission impossible’, so is it worth Boehly’s time to concentrate largely on Leao with just over a week left of the summer transfer window? Well, if Ibrahimovic’s past verdict is anything to go by, then the answer is yes as the Swede has previously gone on record to list the qualities that AC Milan’s number 17 possesses in abundance.
“We all have a different character. He is young, he is maturing, he can still grow a lot for the talent he has,” the former Man United striker told Milan News at the start of 2022. “I couldn’t stimulate him. If he doesn’t help himself, no one can help him. Before this season. He totally changed, he figured out what to do on his own.”