Real Madrid will provide stiff competition to Premier League elites, Chelsea and Manchester City in the race to sign AC Milan superstar Rafael Leao.

Reigning Champions League and La Liga winners, Real Madrid, will battle Premier League bigwigs Chelsea and Manchester City for the signature of Rafael Leao, who continues to garner attention for his performances. That is according to Spanish outlet Fichajes, which claims that AC Milan are struggling to tie the Portuguese winger down to a new contract.

Regarded as one of the most exciting attacking prospects in the world, Leao has been a revelation in the last year or so with Milan. Having arrived from LOSC Lille in August 2019, the 23-year-old endured a slow start to life at San Siro but is finally living up to his high potential with the Rossoneri.

The Portuguese international is a key player for Stefano Pioli’s side, and his stock has skyrocketed after the Scudetto triumph, in which he contributed with 11 goals and ten assists and was practically unstoppable towards the end. Leao was also crowned the Serie A MVP for the 2021/22 season for his efforts.

Leao has shown so signs of slowing down this season, registering nine goal contributions in just eight outings in all competitions. He also had a fruitful international break, which would only boost his chances of being named in Portugal’s World Cup squad.

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The concern for Milan, though, is that the Portuguese international only has two years left to run on his current deal at San Siro. The two parties are not close to an agreement, and several big European clubs are monitoring the situation with great interest, which has led to the uncertainty surrounding his long-term future.

Manchester City, for one, are huge admirers of Leao and may look to sign him in the near future. Despite the additions of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez, Pep Guardiola’s side never directly replaced Raheem Sterling. Jack Grealish has been nowhere near productive enough to fill in those boots, making Leao a viable alternative.

As for Chelsea, Leao emerged as a late target as new owner Todd Boehly splashed the cash in the summer. However, it appears they have turned their attention elsewhere, as RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku is said to have completed his medical checks with Chelsea ahead of a potential move next summer, with the Frenchman now on top of  their priority list.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, failed to lure Kylian Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer and have set their sights on Leao as they look to add more firepower to their attack. A pacey attacker who can play on either flank as well as a number nine, powerful, skillful dribbler with an eye for goal, Leao has the potential to become a true world beater at Real Madrid.

As per Calciomercato, the estimated total cost of Leao’s renewal would be around €60-65 million, including his hefty wage demands and the €15 million owed to Sporting CP due to the unethical nature of his transfer to Lille. So, Milan could well decide to cash in on their prized asset next summer, when his €150 million clause also comes into play.

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