Chelsea's interest in Rafael Leao has been confirmed by Milan chief Paolo Maldini, who also shared an update on the player's contract situation.
WHAT HAPPENED? The Rossoneri sporting director has revealed that Chelsea approached Milan in the summer window to sign Leao, who reportedly has a €150 million (£129m/$150m) buyout clause. Maldini says their advances were quickly spurned but also confirmed that Milan are struggling to tie the Portuguese forward down to an extension, with his current contract at San Siro set to expire in 2024.
WHAT THEY SAID: "The renewal is an issue that we faced many months ago. Rafa knows that to become stronger than now the solution is to stay with us," the Milan legend told Sport Mediaset.
Shedding light on Chelsea's interest in Leao, Maldini added: "Chelsea’s officially written offer did not arrive but on an informal level it did. Of course, it was rejected."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 23-year-old was an instrumental figure in Milan's 2021-22 Serie A success with 11 goals and eight assists. This prompted Chelsea to enquire about him as the Blues were looking for attacking reinforcements following Romelu Lukaku's return to Inter on loan, but they eventually opted to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona.
WHAT NEXT FOR LEAO?
The striker will look to add to his 2022-23 haul of three goals and three assists in Serie A when Milan return to action on Sunday against Napoli.
By Soham Mukherjee
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