AC Milan are back in talks with the representatives of forward Rafael Leao, 90min understands, and there is a growing optimism at San Siro that an agreement over an extension will be reached.
Chelsea are huge fans of Leao and are keen to bid for the Portugal international in 2023, with his current deal only having 18 months left to run, and the Blues were handed a major boost when Leao rejected Milan’s opening proposal.
Leao, the reigning Serie A MVP, is keen to secure a significant pay rise and there is an awareness that Chelsea are able to provide that, but Milan have always stressed their determination to meet the player’s demands both on and off the pitch.
Milan officials have argued that the Rossoneri can provide the best platform for Leao to continue growing, while they are also prepared to offer the 23-year-old a significant salary to reflect his status as one of the best talents in Italy.
Now, sources have confirmed to 90min that Milan have held fresh talks with Leao’s representatives and their is a feeling among the Serie A champions that they will be able to strike a deal.
Milan have previously warned Chelsea that they would not entertain bids for Leao in January and instead pointed to his €150m release clause, knowing full well that the Blues had no interest in paying that sort of money up front.
Chelsea do remain interested in Leao but have prioritised a move for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez. A bid of around €130m, higher than his €120m release clause but paid in extra instalments, is on the table for the Argentina international.
Sources close to the situation have denied reports that Leao has been left frustrated by Chelsea’s decision to spend that sort of money on another player.
Chelsea are still planning a move for Leao in 2023 and will continue to explore their options even if the Portugal international signs an extension, but Milan are confident they will be able to fend off the Blues’ interest in their star forward.