Rafael Leao wants to sign a new contract with AC Milan as a matter of urgency despite still being admired by Chelsea, according to reports in Italy.
Chelsea looked at Leao in the summer after he played a big part in Milan’s title-winning 2021-22 campaign. However, they were unable to prise him away from the Serie A champions despite making a competitive offer.
Still, they are keeping him on their transfer agenda ahead of 2023.
They might struggle to convince Milan again, though. Indeed, the Rossoneri could take the matter out of their hands by extending Leao’s contract.
At present, the Portugal international is tied down until 2024. To avoid the risk of his value deteriorating next year, Milan might want to renew his deal with better terms.
And disappointingly for Chelsea, it looks like that is what Leao wants to happen as well.
According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Leao wants to put the saga to bed by signing a new contract with his current club. There are still some steps to take to reach a middle ground, though.
First of all, Leao wants an increase on his salary, somewhat understandably. He currently earns €2million net per season, which equates to less than £35,000 per week.
Within a new deal, he would be looking for a salary closer to €7million per season, which is a figure approaching £120,000 per week. Milan, for their part, would not want to go above €6million per season (just over £100,000 per week).
Further factors at play
Besides the salary, there are two other factors causing Leao to seek a solution soon. One is the upcoming World Cup, which he wants to fully focus on with Portugal once his club future is out of the way.
The final issue relates to one of his previous transfers. Leao terminated his contract with Sporting CP in 2018 after fan attacks at their training ground, subsequently joining Lille. Sporting are still owed €19million (£16.6million) in compensation, which he hopes Milan can help with.
Clearly, there are a lot of topics for them to discuss, but on the pitch, Leao wants to focus on Milan. He would rather stick with them than join someone like Chelsea at this stage of his career.
And if all goes according to plan, there could be a clear message to say so before the next transfer window is even open.
AC Milan best place for Rafael Leao for now
Staying put at San Siro could be the best decision for Rafael Leao right now. After all, last season was only the first in which he had ever reached double figures of goals.
Still only 23 years old, Leao might need to back up what he achieved last season to ensure his own progress continues.
The early signs this season have been positive in that regard. He has three goals and six assists to his name from eight appearances between Serie A and the Champions League so far.
Therefore, it would be beneficial if he could keep that momentum going on an individual level at Milan. There are many years ahead in which he could take another step forward in his career.
But he is proving himself as a key player with Milan and will remain so if he stays there. Suitors like Chelsea might just have to keep watching him from afar.