Rafael Leao transfer verdict already given amid Chelsea links and Fabrizio Romano’s £120m claim

The latest on Chelsea links with European ace

AC Milan director Paulo Maldini has reaffirmed his desire to keep hold of Chelsea target Rafael Leao.

The Serie A giants ‘rejected’ the Blues’ interest in him over the summer and plan to retain his services for as long as possible.

As per reporter Fabrizio Romano on Twitter, Maldini has adressed speculation linking one of his key players with a switch to Stamford Bridge (see tweet below):

Furthermore, Romano has provided this latest update to CaughtOffside

“Despite some rumours of contract talks stalling, AC Milan have been negotiating with Rafa Leao for a long time and talks will continue in the next months. Anything more than that is speculation.

“His contract expires in 2024 but the club has always refused any approach as he has a €150million [around £130million] release clause. So far, the situation is quiet but the future will be decided by next summer.”

Key player

Leao has been with AC Milan since 2019 and has since been a key player for the Italian side, helping them win the title last season.

He has made 123 appearances in all competitions for the club to date and has chipped in with 30 goals, 14 of which came last term.

Prior to his move to the San Siro, the Portugal international previously played for Sporting Lisbon and Lille.

You can see why Chelsea would be interested in luring him to England. He is a decent age at 23, had an impressive past campaign and has proved he can score goals.

However, AC Milan are obviously very keen to hold onto him, hence why they have been discussing a new deal for a ‘long time’ according to Romano, and why he has such a hefty price tag.

Graham Potter has the chance to add to his newly inherited squad in the January transfer window and it will be interesting to see who he targets.