Manchester United have identified AC Milan winger Rafael Leao as an alternative to PSV Eindhoven sensation Cody Gakpo.

According to a report by Daily Mirror, Manchester United have readied their contingency plan if they fail in the pursuit of Cody Gakpo. And the Red Devils are keeping tabs on the movements surrounding Rafael Leao.

Manchester United failed with an attempt as they wanted to entice the player with a £25 million offer. But PSV Eindhoven were unwilling to let him go in the summer. Leeds United came calling with a last-minute bid on the deadline day, but PSV had them waiting in the wings.

Gakpo’s stock has definitely soared as his World Cup trickery has triggered a lot of interest among clubs. And Manchester United will have some strong competition, even though they are the front-runners to sign him. With PSV engulfed deep in the Eredivisie title race, they would be reluctant to hand Gakpo over to a potential suitor.

But if a club like Manchester United renew their interest, £50 million should be the ceiling for his transfer. The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has left Erik ten Hag reeling with his striking situation, and the Dutch manager has looked at his native country for reinforcements.

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But current circumstances could tie his hand as there could be limitations on what the Red Devils could spend in the winter. Their summer transfer budget got overshot, and Manchester United will be looking to keep things under wraps. But Leao has emerged as an alternative if Gakpo does not arrive due to PSV’s hesitance.

Leao took AC Milan to the Serie A title last season with some serious goalscoring form and has continued to grow in stature this campaign too. The Rossoneri are deeply engaged in new contract talks with the Portuguese international. But they have enjoyed very little success so far.

Manchester United’s first priority has been Gakpo, but the player recently insisted he is currently focusing solely on the World Cup. “I have to be honest, I am not thinking about that now. I am focused on the tournament and want to keep performing well, to keep helping the team. Hopefully when we become world champions we can think about other things. I try to keep focused and the other players don’t really speak about that kind of thing.”

It remains to be seen if Manchester United win the race to sign Gakpo in January. If not, the Red Devils will likely pursue Portuguese international Leao, although he will be even more expensive than their key target.

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