Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has revealed Rafael Leao is on the verge of penning a major new contract with AC Milan, with Liverpool and Arsenal among the clubs to be left disappointed by his decision.
Leao was in great form for Milan last season, registering 14 goals and 12 assists in 42 matches across all competitions. That helped the Rossoneri win their first Serie A title in 11 years and reach the semi-final of the Coppa Italia.
Leao, who mainly plays on the left wing but can also operate as a centre-forward, has been even better this campaign. He has so far managed 13 goals and 13 assists in 44 games and is poised to eclipse his goal tally from last term.
While Milan have relinquished the Serie A crown to Napoli, they could still make it a memorable season by winning the Champions League. Stefano Pioli’s team will come up against rivals Inter Milan in the last four, with the first leg due to take place on Wednesday evening.
There has been plenty of talk about Leao’s future in the last 12 months. With his Milan deal set to expire in June 2024, several clubs have begun chasing him. They include Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
But Romano has revealed all four of those clubs will be left frustrated as the Portugal international is on the verge of signing a new five-year deal with Milan.
‘AC Milan are closing in on [an] agreement to extend Rafael Leao’s contract — [the] plan is to get all the documents finally signed in the next days,’ the journalist wrote on Twitter.
‘Verbal agreement on [the] new deal [is] valid until June 2028. Leao’s camp [are] already in Milan in order to seal the new contract.’
Fabrizio Romano discusses future of Liverpool, Arsenal objective
In a follow-up tweet, Romano added: ‘Rafa Leao always wanted to stay at AC Milan, as stated by the player’s lawyer in February.
‘The agreement is now almost in place, [the] expectation is to get it signed very, very soon.’
Milan cannot offer Leao as much money as any of his Premier League suitors. However, the goalscorer is happy with how Milan are progressing, given their recent Scudetto and their Champions League journey this season. Leao clearly feels Milan can match his lofty ambitions over the next few years.
Despite this, it is still expected that the 23-year-old will end up playing in England one day. Having featured in Portugal, France and Italy so far, the Prem will eventually represent a big new challenge for Leao to conquer.
For now, it seems the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal will have to focus on other transfer targets. As has widely been reported, Liverpool’s priority is to improve their midfield.
Arsenal are also in the market for one or two new midfielders, which could result in the two clubs getting involved in a bidding war.