Having failed in their attempts to prise Rafael Leao away from AC Milan last summer, Chelsea will return for the 23-year-old’s signature in the winter market.
Calciomercato reports that the Blues have already opened preliminary talks with Milan over the transfer of the Portuguese winger following their recent double over the Italian side.
After a slow start to their Champions League campaign, new Chelsea boss Graham Potter has guided Chelsea to the top of Group E with consecutive victories over the reigning Serie A champions.
The Chelsea hierarchy have reportedly used that avenue to speak with Milan over a potential deal, with the Italians also eyeing a couple of Chelsea players.
Milan were interested in Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech last summer. But the Blues were reluctant to release the American, and Ziyech’s move broke down in the final stages.
Chelsea reportedly pushed to sign Leao in the final weeks of the last transfer window and included Pulisic in a player-plus-cash deal.
However, Milan had no interest in letting the Portuguese winger leave and tabled a contract renewal offer.
Despite their strong reluctance to sell, the former Lille man has yet to agree to extend his stay at the San Siro.
Leao has two years left on his current deal, and the Rossoneri are desperate to keep him beyond 2024.
He is reportedly interested in staying with Milan, but some details still need to be sorted out before he signs a new contract.
While the salary package Leao is demanding may not be much of a problem for Milan, they are unwilling to pay his court-mandated €16.5m compensation to Sporting CP, which has caused friction in the negotiations.
Leao’s reluctance to sign a new deal has left the door open for a potential move away.
Milan would prefer not to listen to offers for Leao in January or next summer, with Paolo Maldini stating they want to renew the forward’s contract before the World Cup.
The Blues are relentless in their pursuit but are not alone in the race for the Portugal international, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City also circling.
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