Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City join race for attacker attracting Chelsea, but may have to stretch to record transfer territory

AC Milan forward Rafael Leao in action versus Empoli

Manchester City could enter the race to sign AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao, who has also been linked with Chelsea, according to reports in Italy.

Leao has been linked with a move to the Premier League in recent weeks. His most likely suitors up to this stage have appeared to be Chelsea. However, after winning the accolade of Serie A’s best player in the 2021-22 season, he is probably on the radar of many more.

The left winger has a contract with AC Milan until 2024. Fabrizio Romano recently revealed that talks are continuing in the coming months, despite some concerns about the negotiations stalling.

However, if Leao performs like he did last season – and the early signs in 2022-23 are that he will – then the Serie A champions might have to fend off interest from elsewhere in the coming months.

According to a report from Italian website Calciomercato, Manchester City are also admirers of the 23-year-old.

There are not many details, but the report makes it clear that Pep Guardiola’s side like Leao a lot. As one of the most powerful clubs financially in the world, they should be able to compete for his signature if they want him.

Leao has a €150million release clause in his current contract, which would equate to around £130million at present exchange rates.

Manchester City have never spent that much on a single player; their record signing is £100million man Jack Grealish. AC Milan have not been particularly keen to negotiate Leao’s value. But it remains to be seen if a different kind of offer could tempt them if he does not renew his deal with them.

Leao will likely have a lot of interested suitors if he ends up pursuing a new challenge. A move to the Premier League could be something that is spoken of more often in the years to come.

Man City might have to wait for Rafael Leao – and weigh up costs

For now, though, AC Milan will be hoping to retain his services a little longer. He has scored 30 goals from 122 appearances for them, including three from seven so far this season.

Romano’s recent revelations have suggested a lack of fear in Milan about the potential loss of Leao. From their perspective, all being well, he will be committing for more than the next two seasons.

But given that he is still only 23, there are many years ahead in which a Premier League club could make an approach. If there is a high-class player on the market, Manchester City will want to keep track of any developments.

That said, they have also shown a tendency not to overpay for targets they do not feel are worth it. Therefore, they would have to carefully consider AC Milan’s requests for Leao if they were to make a formal move.

But he is certainly an exciting talent for them to be keeping an eye on.

READ MOREErling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund director explains why Man City move came at right time to end ‘burden’ with striker