Premier League • England

Graham Potter lauds ‘top’ Serie A forward as Chelsea chiefs get to work on finalising big-money deal

Graham Potter, August 2022

Graham Potter has increased the speculation surrounding Rafael Leao and Chelsea by calling the forward ‘ a top player’.

Leao will have the chance to show Chelsea what he can do tonight (Wednesday). The Blues host AC Milan in the Champions League group stage.

It is a game to keep an eye on as Chelsea are reportedly trying to sign Leao. They initially made an approach for him on summer’s transfer deadline day but had it pushed back.

The bid, worth between £69million and £79m, did not meet Milan’s asking price. They want close to £130m, which is the left winger’s release clause.

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini is also in talks with Leao’s camp to try and sort out a new contract.

His current deal expires in 2024, so it is the right time for the club to organise an extension. Plus, Milan believe fresh terms will keep Chelsea at bay.

Potter’s side remain on his trail though and are expected to discuss Leao’s potential transfer at Stamford Bridge. Italian source Calciomercato have tipped Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s chairman and co-owner, to meet with senior Milan chiefs before the Champions League clash.

Amid all the transfer talk, Potter has spoken about the 23-year-old’s ability before the game. He has done little to quash the links, instead heaping praise on Leao.

Graham Potter rates Chelsea target highly

“I am really surprised in a positive way by what he has done, he makes a difference in attack with goals and assists,” Potter said (via “Congratulations, he is a top player.

“Then what he will be in the future I don’t know but he is playing really well with Milan. He has the skills and the talent of being able to play well in the Premier League too.”

It’s clear Potter has watched Leao several times, so he knows the Portuguese well. Perhaps Chelsea scouts have seen Leao in action too, with the club plotting a big swoop for him.

Tonight’s match is a great opportunity for Leao. He can make an even bigger impression on Potter and Boehly by getting among the goals at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea already appear set to offer big money for him in 2023. But a goal in the UCL game would make Chelsea even more likely to raid Milan for him.

As mentioned previously, Leao will not come cheap. Chelsea have already had a bid worth around £79m rejected, which shows just how much Milan think of the star.

While such big money would put most clubs off, this is not the case at Chelsea. Boehly is looking to make a statement by signing top players and Leao fits into this bracket.

The Serie A goalscorer isn’t the only quality player Boehly is hoping to land. Chelsea are also in talks with RB Leipzig over the capture of Christopher Nkunku.

And according to various reliable sources, he has already taken part in a medical ahead of a proposed move to west London.

By adding Leao and Nkunku to the squad, Chelsea could give Potter one of the deadliest attacks in world football.

Meanwhile, Chelsea want to sign an England international next year, according to reports.