La Liga champions Real Madrid are reportedly weighing up a move to sign Portuguese international Rafael Leao from AC Milan in 2023.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Rafael Leao features on Real Madrid’s radar over a possible move next year. The Portuguese attacker’s negotiations with AC Milan over a new deal have hit a snag, thereby capturing the attention of several clubs, including Los Blancos.

Rafael Leao has gone from strength to strength since joining AC Milan from LOSC Lille in August 2019. The 23-year-old took some time to get going but has not looked back since a brilliant 2020/21 campaign. And he followed that up with a Serie A MVP-winning 2021/22 season, where he guided AC Milan to the Scudetto.

The Portuguese international has been in fine form this season, apart from a few sub-par displays. Leao has managed six goals and nine assists in 19 appearances thus far for AC Milan. But the player is locked in negotiations with the Rossoneri, with his wage demands complicating matters. Such a situation has captured the attention of Real Madrid.

The young attacker has been on Real Madrid’s radar for a long time. While Leao primarily plays on the left flank, he is also a top-notch striker. So while the 23-year-old will unlikely usurp Vinicius Jr. from the left-wing berth at Real Madrid, he can be a long-term successor for Karim Benzema.

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Recent reports have claimed that Erling Haaland is the priority target for Real Madrid to replace Benzema. But Manchester City will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of the Norwegian striker, even when his release clause comes into effect. So Real Madrid might need to identify alternatives for Haaland.

Leao is thus a viable target for the reigning La Liga champions. And his long-dragging contract talks with AC Milan will bolster the suitors’ chances of snapping him up. The Portuguese international’s liability to pay €19 million to Sporting CP also complicates matters.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid will have to fend off stiff competition from several Premier League clubs to sign the 23-year-old. It will be interesting to see how Leao’s contract situation evolves as teams across Europe set their sights on him.

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