Bullish Boehly not put off by transfer revelation over Serie A star, with Chelsea to ‘charge’ at star signing

·3-min read
Todd Boehly, September 2022 Credit: PA Images
Todd Boehly, September 2022 Credit: PA Images

Chelsea will keep trying to sign Rafael Leao despite all the signs showing a new AC Milan contract is on the way for the forward, a report claims.

The Blues made attacking additions a top summer priority, especially after allowing Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to leave. Raheem Sterling has hit the ground running, scoring four goals already.

Although, former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has yet to rediscover his top Premier League form.

Chelsea also tried to add Milan’s Portugal star Leao to their attack in a late summer move. The Stamford Bridge club offered £69million, but Milan referred to his £130million release clause.

And since the transfer window closed, the focus from Milan directors Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara has been on trying to tie Leao down to a new deal.

The 23-year-old’s current terms expire in the summer of 2024. Despite talk of his new terms, an extension has not yet come to fruition.

And according to Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Chelsea – led by owner Todd Boehly – will not retreat from a transfer battle that easily.

“In a market where all clubs have to reckon with costs and budgets to keep in order, AC Milan have sent back a €70-80m offer presented by Chelsea,” Di Marzio told Tuttomercatoweb.

“In the last days of the market, in fact, the English club tried to make the Rossoneri ‘waver’ by putting a very rich offer on the table: a proposal, however, declined by Maldini and Massara.”

Chelsea to try Leao transfer again

Di Marzio added: “The latter [Massara] will now, however, have to try to solve the knot linked to the contract, with the 1999-born striker due to expire in 2024 and with whom there is still no economic agreement for renewal.

“Chelsea, and not only Chelsea, [are] an interested spectator and ready to return to the charge in the coming months.”

Boehly, who became the Chelsea owner earlier this year, also acted as the club’s sporting director in the summer.

However, reports have detailed how he wants Paris Saint-Germain’s Luis Campos to sign on in that role.

And Boehly will reportedly hand Campos – or whoever comes in – £260million over the next two transfer windows.

Leao moved to Milan from Lille in the summer of 2019. After scoring six Serie A goals and having a bit-part role in his debut season, he added more assists to his name in 2020/21.

Last term, his 11 goals and 10 assists saw his stock rise even further, especially as those contributions helped Milan win Serie A.

After 26 direct contributions in all competitions last season, he has already reached a tally of nine this time around.

Milan man set for exciting future

Leao may well feel at this stage that his future lies in Milan, at least for a couple more years.

He has enjoyed a fantastic rise with the Serie A club and he is guaranteed starts in an exciting team.

But, there will no doubt come a point when he has a move on his mind.

Many of Leao’s Portuguese compatriots have settled well in the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota are just two of many currently starring.

Leao may eventually seek to move on as he hits his prime and enjoy more experiences of European football. Milan will now look to consistently return to the Champions League, if not the Europa League.

For now, though, a new contract would allow him to cement his status as one of Milan’s star players.

From a business perspective, fresh terms would also allow Milan to protect Leao’s value if and when he decides to leave.

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