The Portuguese talent is a top target for the Blues, who want to add more flair and dynamism to their attack. However, Leao is open to staying with Milan.
Chelsea wanted to sign Leao this summer. Milan sporting director Paolo Maldini confirmed Chelsea made an offer for Leao, but it was only verbal. Milan rejected the offer.
They reiterated potential suitors must meet Leao’s €150 million release clause if they want to take him. This shows how much Milan want to keep the player.
New owners RedBird Capital are also tough negotiators and have no intention of letting Leao go.
However, Leao has only two years left on his contract with Milan. If he does not renew before the end of this season, Milan may be forced to change their stance.
Maldini said: “Rafa knows that to become stronger the solution is to stay. We are a young and growing team. They still have to learn many things.
“If they reach a level higher than that of Milan, then, I think, it is also normal to take flight. But we intend to do great things and grow with him.
“Renewal? It is a question that we have already addressed many months ago. Is Rafa non-transferable? Yes, for me, he would be, but it is useless to be romantic. When certain figures arrive, there are no non-transferable players.
“We have been talking with him for some time, also Bennacer and Kalulu. Each renewal can be more complicated or easier. The will of the player goes a long way. That of the club is there.”
Leao helped Milan win the Scudetto last season. It was their first league title in 11 years. The Portugal international recorded 14 goals and 12 assists in all competitions.
He has scored three goals and assisted six in eight appearances this term and has become the club’s talisman.
However, if he has not signed a new contract by January, Milan will have to start considering offers for Leao in the summer.
They would prefer to get something for him than to let him go for free and would probably sell for a lower fee than his release clause.
Jorge Mendes has been in contact with Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly about buying a club, and the LA Dodgers chief will be looking to buy some Portuguese talent too.
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