Manchester City to battle Chelsea for AC Milan star Rafael Leao.

According to Calcio Mercato, Manchester City will challenge Premier League rivals Chelsea in the race to sign AC Milan superstar Rafael Leao.

The Portuguese international has been a revelation at the San Siro and is among the league’s most dynamic attackers. Leao was the standout player for Stefano Pioli’s side as Milan won their first Scudetto in over a decade in the 2021-22 campaign.

The 23-year-old scored 11 times and assisted 10 more in 34 league games last season. This saw him win the prestigious Serie A MVP title, and few can argue that it wasn’t deserved. Leao has continued his top form into the new campaign, making nine goal contributions in just eight games. The winger is on his way to proving that he is far from a one-season wonder.

As things stand, Leao’s contract at the San Siro runs out in 2025, and he is yet to pen an extension. The player is seeking €7 million in wages per year, a little over the €6.5m that Milan are willing to offer him. While the gap between the two sides isn’t much, what adds spice to the whole saga is the aftershocks of Leao’s unceremonious exit from Sporting CP in 2018.

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One team who have been after the player for a while now is Chelsea. With Todd Boehly at the helm, the Blues made a move to land Leao in the summer but were ultimately unsuccessful. Graham Potter’s side are unlikely to fork out the 23-year-old’s €150m release clause but can still cough up a rather generous €120m in transfer fee.

Chelsea and Milan have been involved in several transfers over the last few years, including that of Fikayo Tomori. While relations remain cordial, Manchester City’s entry into the fray complicates matters for the London giants.

Pep Guardiola’s side is the pre-eminent team in English football today and could do with a player of Leao’s talents. The Etihad outfit lacks a prolific left-winger, and there is little debate that Leao is a bigger goal-scoring threat than Jack Grealish. The Premier League champions have never shied away from shelling out on big cash purchases, and one can see them fork out what is needed for the Milan ace.

Chelsea could also do with a prolific winger who can find the back of the net. Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech have performed below par, and a change is the need of the hour. There are few better, marquee signings than Leao and landing him would be a coup of sorts for Boehly and co.

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