Manchester City are eyeing a shock move for Chelsea and Manchester United target Rafael Leao and are prepared to swap Jack Grealish in exchange for him, according to reports.
Leao has been subject to interest from a number of Premier League clubs of late, but this is the first time City have really thrown their hat into the ring with this surprise revelation.
Chelsea has looked like the most likely destination for the Portuguese winger, so the news will come as a massive blow to Blues fans who have been calling out for attacking reinforcements.
Leao is arguably one of the most talented wingers in Europe at the moment, putting in some stunning performances for AC Milan.
The 25-year-old performed well at the World Cup for Portugal when, despite not starting a game, he managed to score two excellent goals – which has only added to the transfer speculation.
Overall, since joining Milan in 2019, Leao has scored 34 goals and added 30 assists in 134 games for the Rossoneri, averaging a stunning 0.47 goal contributions per match.
And, acording to CalcioMercatoWeb, City are now willing to swap their £100m record-signing Grealish in exchange for Leao.
With both players generally operating from the left wing, when comparing the two’s stats, it’s clear to see who the winner would be if the deal does take place.
This season, Grealish has managed only eight appearances for City in the Premier League, scoring just one goal and making no assists so far.
In contrast, Leao is enjoying his most prolific season to date, scoring six and assisting five times in 14 appearances this campaign.
The Portugal international would offer something different to what Pep Guardiola currently has at his disposal, too. He is tall, physical and uses his footwork and physicality to get past players, which is not typical of a classic winger.
However, you cannot deny that Leao’s technique is absolutely brilliant to watch and if the 23-year-old does come to the Premier League this winter, he could set the division alight for years to come.
Grealish swap offer a huge blow to Chelsea and United
If the reports are to be believed, the news will come as a great disappointment to Chelsea and United, who have been working hard to secure Leao’s signature.
Graham Potter is in need of more attacking reinforcements at the moment, with the recent injury to Armando Broja leaving the Chelsea boss with just one senior striker at his disposal in Pierre-Eimerick Aubameyang, although the Blues have agreed a deal to bring in young forward David Datro Fofana in January.
With the Blues currently sitting in eighth place in the league, Leao could have been the ideal player to reignite their top-four hopes.
As for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford has been their most prolific attacker this season, netting five times in 15 league appearances so far.
However, the likes of Antony, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga have struggled to find form lately, so Erik ten Hag has been actively looking for top-quality forward options this winter.
Again, Leao would have been a fantastic addition for the Red Devils. But this most recent development regarding their rivals Man City may just have scuppered their hopes of signing him.
For the deal to work out, Grealish would of course have to agree to sign for AC Milan, and indeed they would also have to see him as a fair swap for Leao, who is valued at £85m by Transfermarkt.
So, it’s possible a player-plus-cash deal may be necessary if this is the route Guardiola opts to go down this winter.
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