Chelsea have been handed a major setback in the race to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao. The 23- year-old was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer as the Blues looked to bolster their strike force.
A deal failed to materialise, but the Blues are said to be monitoring the winger’s situation after he recently entered talks with the Rossoneri over a new deal. Leao, who 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 . Speaking at Gran Gala del Calcio awards, sporting director Ricky Massara provided an update on the saga.
“We are confident,” the Milan transfer chief told Sky Sport Italia . “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.”
After Leao failed to impress against Chelsea in the Champions League , Todd Boehly has been urged to think twice before tabling an offer . The winger failed to register a single goal contribution over two legs and often found himself suppressed by Reece James. Speaking to BT Sport, Joe Cole cast doubt as to whether Leao ticks the boxes that a player of his asking price should fulfil. The former Chelsea midfielder said:
“Do you know what? For all of his talent and everything tonight, there will be scouts here, and there will be question marks on his attitude. “He went like most of his teammates tonight. He went a bit limp against James. He didn’t get his own way. First 20 minutes, he was loving life, chest out, he was running at players.
“Reece James put it on him a bit, and we watched his body language,” added Cole, before reminding potential suitors that there is still time for Leao to elevate his game. “If you’re going to spend £100million or whatever his price tag will be, you’ve got to tick all of the boxes. There’s still some time left, and he is exciting.”