Man City are ahead of Everton and Wolves in the race for an AC Milan forward, according to reports.
Pep Guardiola has plenty of attackers at his disposal, including Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus. But the Citizens are yet to replace record goalscorer Sergio Aguero after his summer switch to Barcelona.
Reports now suggest that Aguero could retire following the diagnosis of an apparent heart condition. His former club, meanwhile, are busy hunting for his successor.
England captain Harry Kane was their top priority during the summer transfer window. They bid £100m for his services but were quoted at £160m, and never matched that price tag.
Dusan Vlahovic and Erling Haaland are both on Man City’s wish list. However, the two goalscorers are also attracting interest from pretty much all of Europe’s top teams.
That means Guardiola may have to get creative when it comes to a new striker. Milan and Portugal ace Rafael Leao is one option.
The 22-year-old, who can operate centrally or on the left flank, is on five goals and two assists so far this campaign. City reckon Guardiola may be able to improve those numbers and make Leao a world-beater.
Sport Witness, citing reports in the Italian media, provide an update on Leao’s future. They write that Milan are desperate to negotiate a new contract, tying him down to beyond 2024.
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Rossoneri manager Stefano Pioli sees Leao as ‘indispensable’, as his impact on the team continues to grow. It’s a significant turnaround for the player, who was previously close to being put on the transfer list at San Siro.
Despite Milan’s aims, they are only ‘clinging’ on to Leao as City prepare to move in. They are ready to submit a huge bid for the star, as well as putting major contract terms on the table. That in turn puts them in ‘pole position’ to complete a deal.
All of this is bad news for Everton and Wolves, who were pursuing Leao in October. Their stalling could see him move to the Etihad instead.
Guardiola focused despite Sterling exit talk
Meanwhile, Guardiola has responded to more questions over the future of English winger Sterling.
He is a target for Barcelona and is even open to a surprise La Liga switch. Guardiola fuelled the transfer rumours himself by pointing out the Blaugrana’s pull power.
“Don’t ask me from now on until the transfer window is open because I’m not going to answer them,” Guardiola said (via Manchester Evening News).
“Mine and Raheem’s focus is on the games, I’m not going to answer any questions about what’s going to happen in the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”