Premier League • England

Arsenal, Man City interest in Rafael Leao forces Milan into eye-opening contract decision

AC Milan star Rafael Leao

Portuguese forward Rafael Leao is reportedly a target for Arsenal, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain – forcing AC Milan into a major contract decision.

Leao, who can operate as a left winger or at centre-forward, came through the Sporting Lisbon academy. He made just five appearances for the club, scoring two goals, before joining Lille on a free transfer.

He spent one season with them in Ligue 1, and eight goals came his way in 26 matches. Leao’s solid performances saw Milan come in for him almost three years ago.

They paid £32million to take the exciting attacker to Italy. It took the Portugal international time to get used to Serie A.

But he is now enjoying his best season at the San Siro yet, having notched 13 goals and seven assists in 39 games so far.

His most recent strike came in Milan’s 1-0 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday. That maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Serie A table, with rivals Inter in second.

Leao could help the Rossoneri win their first title in 11 years by scoring in their final three matches. That may be his last action in the famous red and black jersey, as reports suggest the 22-year-old will take part in a big move this summer.

Arsenal have held an interest in Leao for several months. They will need attacking reinforcements ahead of next season if Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah leave.

City rivalling Arsenal for Rafael Leao

Journalist Nicolo Schira claims Pep Guardiola’s City are also hoping to land him. They could create a deadly strike partnership by putting Leao alongside Erling Haaland.

And a recent report from Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport names PSG as having a ‘strong interest’ in Leao.

Football Italia come in with an update on his future, while citing Gazzetta dello Sport.

They state the transfer links have put Milan on alert. Club chiefs are now looking at ways to avoid a summer sale.

Their best bet is to tie the five-cap international down to a new contract. His current deal runs until 2024, but Milan are ready to offer an extension.

And they are willing to put a huge amount of money on the table. Should Leao sign the contract, then his annual wage will be tripled to just under £3.8m. The terms will last until 2026, too.

The report reveals Leao is open to extending his spell at the San Siro. This could leave Arsenal, City and PSG disappointed.

Remaining at Milan for another couple of seasons could be Leao’s best option. It will allow him to grow into potentially a leading goalscorer.

Should this happen, then he will be ready to take the next step by moving to the Premier League or the Parc des Princes.

Elsewhere, TEAMtalk understands Arsenal are yet to make a decision over Hector Bellerin’s future. The right-back, 27, is on loan at Real Betis and could make the switch permanent – if Arsenal allow it.