Wolves forced into re-think as Italians make U-turn over star forward

Date published: Saturday 31st July 2021 9:23 - Neil Foster

Rafael.Leao_.Milan_.2021.TEAMtalk1

Wolves may now have to look elsewhere after news emerged in the Italian media that Milan are set to keep hold of forward Rafael Leao.

Wolves were first linked with the 22-year-old back in April when Nuno Espirito Santo was in charge. The Portuguese connection was strong and it made the West Midlanders among the favourites to sign the youngster. Nuno has now departed but, with Bruno Lage at the helm, there still seemed hope of a deal.

And with super-agent Jorge Mendes in control of proceedings, things were looking good. As recently as last week, reports claimed the clubs were in discussions over the sale of Leao.

It was thought that Milan were open to the idea of cashing in on the former Portugal Under-21 star. But, ahead of the Rossoneri’s friendly clash with French club Nice on Saturday, news broke of a change of heart.

MilanNews (via sportslens) are reporting that the San Siro giants are not willing to let the youngster leave for any club this summer. Wolves were not the only outfit thought to hold an interest in the former Sporting ace.

Bruno Lage new Wolves manager March 2020

Everton’s name has been mentioned although that was when it was felt Nuno would replace Carlo Ancelotti. It is not clear if Toffees chief Rafa Benitez is a fan of the frontman but that trail seems to have gone cold.

Leao the man to unlock defences

It is clear that Wolves need more firepower in the final third. Last season’s woeful goal return was behind their below-par campaign.

Raul Jimenez’s injury absence was a huge factor and proved just how much the Black County outfit rely on the Mexican. Leao is not a prolific goalscorer but that part of his game is likely to develop as he matures.

Likened to both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe, he has bagged 13 times in 73 Milan appearances. But he is certainly a provider, with six Serie A assists in 2020-21 to add to his six league goals.

There is still time for the Italians to change their minds and allow the starlet to leave. However, with Norway international Jens Petter Hauge edging toward a summer exit, they will need Leao on board.

He is highly regarded at the club and has made 61 league starts across the past two seasons. Wolves would have loved to see him at Molineux but hopes appear to be fading.

READ MORE: Leeds go big with winger ‘bid’ but transfer far from straight forward

 

 

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