Chelsea and Manchester City are reportedly monitoring the situation of AC Milan winger Rafael Leao, who has asked the Rossoneri to settle a debt owed to Sporting Lisbon.
The 23-year-old is currently under contract with the AC Milan until 2024, but negotiations over his contract extension have become increasingly complicated.
Italian news agency La Gazzetta Dello Sport reports that he has asked for an annual salary of €6 million. He has also asked Milan, along with his former club’s LOSC Lille, to pay his £16m debt to the Portuguese club.
Leao lost an appeal over a contract dispute with Sporting earlier this year after a fan invaded the club’s training ground and attacked a player, and was ordered to repay the club after prematurely ending his contract.
But it’s no wonder technical director Paulo Maldini wants to keep him at Milan. He is an accomplished left winger who has scored 30 goals and 27 assists in 123 appearances since he arrived in Italy.
“We already started talking a long time ago with Rafa [Leao], [Ismael] Bennacer, and [Pierre] Kalulu,” said Maldini.
“I always believe that what the player wants counts for a lot in these situations.”
Leao requests assistance from AC Milan to help pay his debt
AC Milan is likely to be able to meet most of his salary demands and Maldini has proposed a £4m increase to his salary, which is currently at £1.7m, but questions remain. It seems as if he is in debt to Sporting.
With Graham Potter and Pep Guardiola surrounding the player, City has been eyeing the Portugal international since his days at Sporting Lisbon, according to Gazzetta.
Chelsea, meanwhile, has asked Milan to sign Leao this summer, but were unwilling to honor his £132m release clause. However, Todd Bawley’s pockets could stretch to £106m to get him to Stamford Bridge.
They should first see how the situation in Milan unfolds, and there are reports suggesting he is willing to stay in Italy if his demands are met.