Arsenal interest remains, but ideal signing nears alternative agreement with triple boost

Rafael Leao AC Milan

Rafael Leao is of increasing interest to Arsenal, but reports in Italy indicate that AC Milan are trying to triple his wages instead.

Arsenal are ready to undergo an evolution of their attack in the summer. Signing a new forward could be one of their main priorities (although so too will be midfield). In that department, there have been recent links with Rafael Leao.

Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both out of contract at the end of the season. Since both are expected to leave, Arsenal will no longer have much depth up front.

Because of that, they have been linked with several striker signings. Many seem ambitious and would cost a fortune. Therefore, the Gunners will have to get creative.

One solution they could consider is converting Gabriel Martinelli into a centre-forward again. In turn, that would leave a void on the left wing, where he has generally been operating this season.

Rafael Leao is someone who can cover both roles, as a winger or a striker. Perhaps because of those plans, he is a major target for Arsenal.

Reports earlier this month confirmed the north London side’s interest in the Portugal international. Premier League rivals Newcastle United were also thrown into contention.

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Now, though, Gazzetta Dello Sport provide a disheartening update for Arsenal or Newcastle fans. The Italian newspaper writes that Milan have plans to improve Leao’s contract.

He is currently on the same terms he agreed to when joining the club in 2019. His deal is due to expire in 2024.

Rafael Leao “irreplaceable” for Milan

Milan may now reward him after passing the landmark of 100 appearances for the club. From that century of games, he has scored 23 goals and provided 15 assists.

La Repubblica have also recently reported that Milan will be offering Leao a payrise. They even went as far as describing him as “irreplaceable” for the Rossoneri. Therefore, Arsenal’s chances – or anyone else’s – seem to be slimming.

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But until Leao makes any official commitment, the links are likely to continue. What’s more, he is still only 22 years old, so there is plenty of time for a future transfer if the situation changes.

Still, Gazzetta expect the signature to arrive at any time for a deal that will see his salary increased threefold.

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Arsenal warned about attacker chances

Rafael Leao is not the only attacking player that Arsenal could miss out on. Indeed, there are no “standout” players Arsenal can sign on their budget to prevent a looming crisis, claims William Gallas.

The likes of Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins have been mentioned for the summer. Dusan Vlahovic was the No 1 target in January, but the Serbian chose Juventus.

Now, via the Mirror, former Gunners defender Gallas has fired a warning regarding Arsenal’s summer prospects.

Gallas suggested there’s an “expectation within the club” that Lacazette will go. However, the Frenchman doesn’t expect Arsenal will be able to sign the calibre of player they require.

“There’s an expectation within the club that Lacazette is leaving in the summer. So they need to find at least one top striker to replace him and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” he said.

“There are no players that stand out to me at the minute that are within Arsenal’s budget.

“I just want to see them sign a striker who can score at least 20 goals a season and that’s not easy to find. But for a striker, that’s the standards of what we expect at a club of Arsenal’s stature.

“For teams like Man City, the way they play they don’t need an out and out striker. All of their team can score.

“But for Arsenal they need a good, solid striker who can score a minimum of 20 goals a season.”

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