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Rafael Leao: Chelsea and Man City 'eye move for AC Milan star'

Published on: 23 September 2022

Chelsea and Manchester City are monitoring the situation of AC Milan winger Rafael Leao who has requested the Rossoneri help him pay-off a debt he owes to Sporting Lisbon, according to reports.

The 23-year-old is currently contracted to the Serie A club until 2024 but negotiations around renewing his contract are becoming more complicated.

Italian news outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting that he has requested a £6m-a-year salary and has also asked Milan, along with his former club LOSC Lille, to help him pay a £16 million debt to the Portuguese club.

Leao lost an appeal over a contract dispute with Sporting earlier this year and was ordered to remunerate the club after he prematurely terminated his contract when fans invaded the club's training ground and attacked the players.

But there is no wonder why Technical Director Paulo Maldini wants to keep him at Milan, with the skillful left-winger scoring 30 times and yielding 27 assists in 123 appearances since he arrived in Italy.

'We already started talking a long time ago with Rafa [Leao], [Ismael] Bennacer and [Pierre] Kalulu,' Maldini said.

'I always believe that what the player wants counts for a lot in these situations.'

It's likely that the Serie A champions will be able to meet the majority of his wage demands, with Maldini tabling a £4m increase to his salary, which currently sits at £1.7m-per-year, but it seems the sticking point remains his debt to Sporting.

And according to Gazzetta, both Graham Potter and Pep Guardiola seem to be circling the player, with City having watched the Portuguese International since his days at Sporting Lisbon.

Chelsea, meanwhile, approached Milan to sign Leao earlier this summer but were unwilling to meet his £132m release clause but Todd Boehly's pockets could stretch to £106m to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

They will have to see how the situation pans out at Milan first, with reports suggesting that he would be willing to stay in Italy if his demands are met.


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