Chelsea want £87m star with ‘magic in his feet’ at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea will continue to covet AC Milan forward Rafael Leao ‘going into the new year’, according to journalist Dean Jones.

The Blues were linked with a move for the talented 23-year-old throughout the summer and reportedly saw a formal offer rejected for him by the reigning Serie A champions.

What is the latest news involving Leao?

Spanish reporter Manu Sainz (via Football.London) claimed that Milan turned down a €100 million (£86.5m) bid from Chelsea for Leao as they were determined to keep hold of their prized asset.

The Portugal international is known to have a €150m (£129.7m) release clause in his contract, although that may not be an obstacle for his potential suitors for much longer

Leao’s current contract is due to expire in the summer of 2024, and Gazzetta dello Sport has claimed that the player’s agent is negotiating fresh terms and is attempting to remove the clause from any future deal.

In addition to that development, Corriere della Sera (via Sport Witness) have stated that Chelsea are ‘ahead of everyone’ in the race for the clinical forward.

Milan will reportedly not accept anything below £87m for Leao, but they are set to find themselves in a desperate situation following the conclusion of 2022/23 if he refuses to put pen to paper on a new contract.

What has Jones said about Leao?

In an interview with GiveMeSport, he said: “I know that Chelsea didn’t really need to see him in that fixture to be convinced of what sort of player he is.

“You could see in flashes at Stamford Bridge of how fast he is, of the kind of magic in his feet.

“But this is a player that’s the real deal, he makes things happen, he decides games all the time for AC Milan, and he remains a player that will be coveted by Chelsea and others going into the new year.”

Where would Leao fit in at Chelsea?

Leao has predominantly featured either on the left-wing or upfront throughout his senior career, playing a pivotal part for Milan as they claimed the Scudetto last term.

The 6 foot 2 ace registered 11 goals and 10 assists in 34 league appearances for the Rossoneri in 2021/22, helping to end their 11-year wait for a top-flight title.

Consequently, Leao could provide cover and competition for Raheem Sterling out wide or make the striking role his own at Chelsea should he make the switch to west London.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Armando Broja and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have far from showcased they are capable of leading the line for Chelsea in the long-term, meaning Leao could be being lined up to do just that.

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