Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow as AC Milan chief makes Rafael Leao claim

Milans Rafael Leao portrait during the italian soccer Serie A match Hellas Verona FC vs AC Milan on October 16, 2022 at the Marcantonio Bentegodi stadium in Verona, Italy.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been dealt a transfer blow with AC Milan claiming they are ‘confident’ Rafael Leao will sign a new contract with the Italian club.

Leao has been one of AC Milan’s most important players over the past four seasons, making more than 100 appearances for the Serie A giants and providing regular goals and assists.

The 23-year-old’s form has attracted interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Man United, who are both keen to bring the Portuguese star to England next summer.

But AC Milan do not want to lose their talisman and have entered into talks to tie him down to a new contract, according to sporting director Frederic Massara.

‘We’re confident to reach an agreement with Rafael Leao and extend his contract,’ the AC Milan chief said.

‘We’ll try to find a solution to proceed with Rafa for long time. His father’s here tonight, we’ll speak during the dinner.’

Chelsea were believed to be the frontrunners to sign Leao but Manchester United have recently expressed interest in a deal as they look to bolster Erik ten Hag’s squad at Old Trafford.

Speaking before Chelsea’s Champions League clash against AC Milan last week, new Blues boss Graham Potter revealed his admiration for Leao.

‘The player you mentioned is part of that team,’ Potter told a press conference. ‘You can see his quality and what he brings.

‘He’s part of a strong team, a strong club and a strong set-up, and we respect that.’

Meanwhile, AC Milan’s technical director Paolo Maldini revealed last month that Chelsea made an approach to sign Leao in last summer’s transfer window.

‘We have already started talking to him. But not now, for a long time. Every renewal can be simple or complicated, the will of the player makes the difference because that of the club is there,’ Maldini told Sky Italy.

‘Renewal is an issue that we addressed many months ago. Rafa knows that to become stronger than now the solution is to stay with us.

‘We are a young and growing team. He still has to learn many things but we intend to do great things and grow with him.

‘Chelsea’s officially written offer did not arrive but on an informal level it did. Of course, it was rejected.’

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