Manchester City and Chelsea have been handed a blow as AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao is reportedly happy at the Serie A club.
According to Calciomercato, Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester City have been handed a blow in their pursuit of Rafael Leao in the ongoing summer transfer window. The AC Milan talisman has a release clause worth €150 million.
The Portuguese international moved to San Siro from LOSC Lille in 2019 and has since steadily established himself as a regular for the Rossoneri. Leao is, in fact, coming off an excellent 2021/22 campaign where he led the club to their first Serie A title since 2011. With 14 goals and 12 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions, he was a real menace down the wings for Milan.
The 23-year-old’s performances have not been lost on the other elite clubs in Europe. Both Manchester City and Chelsea look set for an overhaul of sorts and have gazed appreciably at the AC Milan attacker. Despite the attention, the player is happy in Italy and has so far not asked to leave San Siro.
Chelsea have already landed Raheem Sterling and is closing in on signing Kalidou Koulibaly. The Blues have parted with the ineffective Romelu Lukaku in the summer and could also sell Hakim Ziyech in the coming weeks. This makes it imperative that Chelsea bring in impactful reinforcements, and Leao’s name features on the list.
Chelsea have, however, not made an official approach, and it remains to be seen if that will change in the upcoming weeks. Leao is primarily a left-winger who can also play up front. With Sterling already capable of occupying both positions, it is debatable if Leao will be a good fit to lead the line at Stamford Bridge.
The 23-year-old is more often than not clinical in front of the goal, but his best performances of late have come from the left flank. Unless Chelsea plan to deploy Sterling elsewhere, signing Leao might not be the best move. That is especially so given the player’s €150 million valuation.
Chelsea are due a major rebuild in the centre-back position, and it makes little sense for them to splash money elsewhere. The same cannot be said of Manchester City, who are now one left-winger short following the sale of Sterling.
Jack Grealish is their lone dependable option in the position, and bringing in Leao could prove to be an inspired signing. Leao appears to be on the cusp of developing into a dynamic game-winner, and Pep Guardiola could help him develop into just that at Manchester City.
Leao has a strong relationship with his teammates and staff at Milan and appears content to stay put at the Serie A club for now. While a move to the Premier League would be a step in the right direction, he is well served to stay another season in Italy and develop his game. He is better off staying at San Siro and developing his game further before embarking upon a new challenge.