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Portuguese starlet puts transfer speculation to bed after ruling out possible January move

Links from Premier League clubs the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea are not enough to convince one of Portugal’s brightest young talents to move during the winter transfer window

Portuguese starlet Rafael Leão came into the 2022 World Cup as one of the hottest young properties anywhere on the European continent after starring for Italian giants AC Milan for the last three-and-a-half years since his arrival from LOSC Lille in the summer of 2019.

Though Fernando Santos only utilized the 23-year-old from the substitutes bench, Leão was a catalyst off the bench for his country on numerous occasions in Qatar, serving up further evidence as to why some of Europe’s biggest clubs are after his signature.

Recent links have placed him in the sights of Premier League duo Arsenal and Chelsea for a potential move during the January transfer window, with Leão personally naming Mikel Arteta’s Gunners as a side he enjoyed watching when he stated “I’ve seen a lot of games this year. I like Arsenal, I think they play very well.”

But despite liking what he was seen on Premier League shores, Leão has ruled out a mid-season move away from Lombardy.

Chelsea has already targeted reinforcement in the forward line with Christopher Nkunku set to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer after starring for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig, while also looking to secure Ivorian starlet David Datro Fofana from Norwegian side Molde FK in the wake of Armando Broja’s long-term injury.

As for Arsenal, the Gunners have been left reeling after Gabriel Jesus picked up a serious injury while in Qatar with Brazil, and as such Mikel Arteta is set to be without his leading man and can only turn to Hale End Academy product Eddie Nketiah as his only striker. A move for Leão would make sense and could potentially see Gabriel Martinelli switch centrally for the remainder of the season, but neither Chelsea nor Arsenal have a chance to make a play for the Portuguese until the summer.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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