‘Confident’ Chelsea lurking as Serie A club ‘struggle’ to agree new contract with £100m forward

Reported Chelsea target Rafael Leao during a training session Credit: Alamy
Reported Chelsea target Rafael Leao during a training session Credit: Alamy

Chelsea are reportedly growing in ‘confidence’ in their pursuit of AC Milan forward Rafael Leao as the Italian champions ‘struggle’ to tie him down to a new contract.

Leao has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge since the summer transfer window.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in the Portuguese international – who will likely cost more than £100million.

In 20 matches across all competitions this term, Leao has seven goals and nine assists.

He played both legs against Chelsea in the Champions League group stage this season as his side were beaten 3-0 and 2-0.

The 23-year-old showed glimpses of why he is wanted by so many clubs but was unable to help Milan find the back of the net across 180 minutes.

His current contract is set to expire in 2024 and the Serie A giants are unsurprisingly eager to agree new terms.

Despite his situation, Milan are still holding out for a big transfer fee should he look for a move elsewhere.

A report last month stated that the Italian champions feel ‘confident’ Leao will renew and they may look to increase the €150m release clause in his current deal.

However, since putting fresh terms on the table, there are now reports surfacing that Milan are losing confidence in Leao’s future at the San Siro.

This is according to 90min, who say Chelsea are monitoring the situation.

The report says the Blues are ‘confident’ they can tempt Leao into a move to Stamford Bridge.

Milan are willing to make the player the ‘highest-paid player in Serie A’ in order to convince him to snub interest from elsewhere.

It is said that AC were hoping to tie Leao down to a new long-term deal before he joined up with Portugal for the World Cup, but failed in their attempts.

Chelsea are ‘readying an approach’ in 2023 as they watch the situation ‘closely’.

There is ‘optimism’ at Stamford Bridge that Leao will be wearing blue this time next year.

The Blues know Milan are not willing to entertain a winter sale, but will likely lodge a huge bid in the following transfer window.

Leao is currently with the Portugal national team ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

Fernando Santos is hoping to guide the nation to their first World Cup title but will have to ensure there is no rift between captain Cristiano Ronaldo and his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes.

Ronaldo recently slammed United manager Erik ten Hag as well as the state of the club, saying there has been no progression since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

After a video emerged of an awkward handshake between Fernandes and Ronaldo following the former’s arrival at Portugal camp, the media have simply lost their s**t.

It will mean nothing, whatsoever, but it is fun to see nearly every media outlet become Mediawatch-worthy over a handshake.

READ NOW: Every Premier League club’s plan for World Cup break – training camps, trips and friendlies

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