Chelsea attempted to lure AC Milan into selling Rafael Leao by offering two of their own stars in part exchange for the winger last summer and in January, it has been revealed.
The Blues were keen to add the Portuguese star to their squad in the last two transfer windows amid contract uncertainty in Milan, with Leao having become widely recognised as one of the best players in the Italian top flight.
Across the last two seasons, he has managed 23 goals and 18 assists in Serie A, earlier in the campaign, he joked that he felt it was too easy for him, though he was quick to rule out a move to London.
“Maybe the Serie A is too easy!”, he joked. “No, but seriously, I don’t like their [London’s] weather. I only went there [London] for shopping. I like Milan. The Duomo, the malls, the clubs, and the food are superior.”
That did not stop Chelsea from trying, however.
As per the Athletic, in Todd Boehly’s first summer in charge they attempted to sign him, with reports that ‘Chelsea valued the player at €100million ($108m) and wished to include a player in exchange to make that price’.
The Rossoneri were offered both Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, who they had been interested in previously, but Milan could not be convinced to take the deal. They were also keen on him in January to potentially fill the striker position, despite the expensive addition of Mykhaylo Mudryk earlier in the window.
Any deal for Leao now seems to be dead and buried, however, with the Portuguese winger having signed a new contract with AC Milan which will keep him at the club until 2027, a three-year extension on his old deal.
There is a release clause within the new agreement, but it stands at a massive 175m euros (£153m), meaning that to prise Leao away from San Siro any interested party will have to smash the Premier League transfer record in a deal that would make him the third most expensive player of all time (Behind Kylian Mbappe and Neymar).
Even for Chelsea, who broke the British transfer record as recently as January, the price might be too steep.