Rafael Leao is still considered to be a priority target for Chelsea this January as the Blues look to entice AC Milan into a surprise sale. The Portuguese international winger was recently name-checked by Reece James as one of the toughest opponents the full-back has ever faced following two eye-catching displays against Graham Potter’s side in the Champions League this season.
But Chelsea’s interest dates back to the summer when they made a £70million verbal proposal for the player.
AC Milan made it clear they were not interested in a sale but that could soon change should they fail to strike an agreement with Leao and his people over a new contract.
Leao’s current deal is due to run until the summer of 2024 but contract negotiations remain going.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have identified the forward as one of their top priority targets.
The Italian reporter told GiveMeSport: “Leao remains a top target for Chelsea, for sure. But in January, again, a difficult one.
“Milan will try to extend his contract. Milan are fighting to extend his contract.
“Chelsea remain interested in Rafael Leao, he’s a top priority for them, for present and future.
“But at the moment, it also depends on Milan. They also have an important game against Tottenham in the Champions League.
“They would love to keep the player to fight for the Italian league with the player.”
Leao is also believed to be of interest to Manchester United as he continues to sparkle at the San Siro.
AC Milan chief Paolo Scaroni is confident the Rossoneri will be able to agree a new contract with their attacking star, although at the moment there is still work to be done.
“They tell me that in Milan he is very comfortable, that he is motivated,” Scaroni told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I know that Maldini is negotiating with him and as far as I just said: if he negotiates, I’m calm.”
Chelsea have been heavily active in the market in recent weeks having secured three deals for Potter’s Stamford Bridge revolution.
Christopher Nkunku is set to join from RB Leipzig next summer in a £52m deal.
Young striker David Datro Fofana is also joining the club from Norwegian side Molde after completing a medical in London.
The Blues are also on the verge of wrapping up a deal for Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos after seemingly seeing off transfer rivals Manchester City and Newcastle.