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Chelsea target Rafael Leao indicates future plan as Todd Boehly faces similar transfer problem

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Chelsea target Rafael Leao indicates future plan as Todd Boehly faces similar transfer problem

Rafael Leao is in Portugal’s World Cup squad and has spoken about his future while out in Qatar, while Chelsea have an interest in possibly bringing the winger to Stamford Bridge

Portugal international and Chelsea transfer target Rafael Leao has helped his country reach the last-16 of the World Cup
Portugal international and Chelsea transfer target Rafael Leao has helped his country reach the last-16 of the World Cup
Rafael Leao has said that he will speak to the AC Milan hierarchy concerning his future when he returns to the San Siro from the World Cup. The Portugal star has just over 18 months remaining on his contract and had a ‘positive’ meeting with Paolo Maldini before departing for Qatar.

The winger has appeared on Chelsea’s transfer list, drawing continued interest from the Blues since the summer when Jorge Mendes offered the winger to the club. Any move for the 23-year-old was expected to start around the £90million mark, with further complications caused with the money still owed to Sporting for terminating his contract and joining Lille in the summer of 2018.

Further interest would not be unexpected from Graham Potter’s side should Leao not extend his deal in Italy. However, while there was talk of complications earlier in the year there still appears to be a chance that he commits his future to Milan.

Leao told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I am happy and proud. I have to stay focused on the World Cup then I’ll speak with Milan upon my return. Renewal? We already had a meeting with Maldini just before joining the national team, it was a positive meeting. Once I return to Milan we will discuss it better.”

It is not uncommon for players who Chelsea hold an interest in to soon after find themselves on a new contract with improved terms. Often clubs can find themselves used in such negotiations as leverage and be left frustrated.

However, it does not mean the Blues are robbed of an opportunity to complete a transfer either, and they could be set to take advantage in the future. Christopher Nkunku committed to a new deal with RB Leipzig in June with a two-year deal until 2026. However, the Frenchman has since agreed a pre-contract with Chelsea.

Josko Gvardiol has also emerged as a target for the Blues. The Croatian defender penned a new deal at the close of the summer transfer window with Todd Boehly unable to coax Red Bull Leipzig into selling the defender. Even a proposal that would have seen Gvardiol arrive at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2023/24 campaign also proved unsuccessful.

However, even in that move there lies opportunity. The 20-year-old star is believed to have a release clause that becomes active at the end of this season, in the region of €50milion (£43million).

A new contract does not always facilitate an easy move, however. Chelsea discovered in the case of Wesley Fofana, who signed a new Leicester deal until 2027 as recently as February, that it can provide a selling club with a great deal more power.

In many ways it will be preferable to Leao to not extend his deal or improve his terms if Chelsea hope to make a move for the promising winger. If he does though, the length of the deal and the opportunities it could bring will be unlikely to be ignored either.

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