PSG are ‘chasing Chelsea target Rafael Leao’ as the club identifies replacements for Lionel Messi… but ‘AC Milan will demand his £131m release clause is met’ as they try to keep hold of star winger with a new deal on the table
- PSG could challenge Chelsea for AC Milan winger Rafael Leao next summer
- The Ligue 1 champions view Leao as the ideal replacement for Lionel Messi
- But Milan will reportedly reject any bid lower than Leao’s £131m release clause
- The Serie A side have opened new talks with the player’s agent Jorge Mendes
PSG will look to rival Chelsea for AC Milan star Rafael Leao as the Parisians seek out attacking replacements for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, who could both leave the club in the summer.
Leao was one of Milan’s standout players during their 21/22 title-winning season and has played in eight of their nine league matches during their current domestic campaign, with manager Stefano Pioli keen to keep hold of the attacker.
The 23-year-old is wanted by a host of top European clubs with Chelsea wanting to bring more dynamic forwards to their attack that has lacked versatility this season.
AC Milan winger Rafael Leao is wanted by a host of top-tier European clubs next summer
Leao (left) is wanted by Chelsea as the club prepare for more spending under Todd Boehly
But Chelsea’s chase now faces a new challenge after big spenders PSG entered the race for Leo’s signature as the French champions target another summer of huge spending, according to Tuttosport.
The Portuguese winger’s current contract expires in 2024, but Milan chiefs have already opened fresh discussions with agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents Cristiano Ronaldo, over a new deal.
Milan would reportedly be unwilling to let Leao leave unless his £131million release clause is met, a fee that could scupper transfer plans for most teams, besides PSG who could meet the demanded clause.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter (left) could face stiff competition from PSG manager Christophe Galtier for Leao’s signature
Manager Christophe Galtier views Leao as the ideal replacement for Messi with the Argentinian expected to return to boyhood club Barcelona at the end of the season following two years in France.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter will get a closer look at Leao when Milan welcome Chelsea to the San Siro stadium on Tuesday evening in the Champions League.
The visitors thrashed the Italian side when the two teams met in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge as Wesley Fofana, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Reece James all scored without reply. Leao was hooked off in the second-half.
Leao’s (middle) current contract at AC Milan holds a £131million release clause until 2024
Chelsea will be wary of entering another summer of transfer battles after being beaten to a host of targets including Robert Lewandowski by Barcelona in the last window.
The Ligue 1 giants also remain interested in Inter Milan defender Martin Skrniar after previously agreeing personal terms with the defender.
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