The Todd Boehly era has began with a decent amount of spending but much criticism has come with the names Chelsea have been linked with, which includes AC Milan’s star forward, Rafael Leao.
Chelsea fans face an anxious wait to see more signings before the transfer window ends and the manner i which they lost to Leeds last time out pretty much says a lot. The Blues next take on a struggling Leicester City and you can follow Chelsea live scores on Flashscore and stay updated with all the results on the pitch.
Off the pitch, the £130million release clause for Leao was something that was frowned upon by Todd Boehly and the new ownership at the time. However, with Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi expected to follow Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner out of the Stamford Bridge exit doors, manager Thomas Tuchel has demanded that new attacking solutions are found.
Alongside the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Anthony Gordon, The Times have reported that Boehly has been given encouraged by Leao’s representatives to start talks over a potential £80m deal amid an ongoing contractual dispute. With this said, football.london rounds up all the latest on the transfer saga regarding this 23-year-old talent who has been described by many supporters as a game-changer type of signing.
Release clause issue
AC Milan are not prepared to listen to play plus cash offers for their number 17 and will only sell on one condition- the release clause.
Calciomercato Journalist Daniele Longo tweeted: ‘Leao-Chelsea, more than one contact with his entourage: Milan intending not to listen to offers, only the clause can be a danger for the Rossoneri.’
Thomas Tuchel could field one of Chelsea’s strongest front-threes against West Ham on September 4 — the Blues’ first Premier League game once the summer transfer window slams shut. But to do this, Todd Boehly will have to complete the signings of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Rafael Leao, who have both been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge.
football.london understand that the west Londoners submitted a £22million bid for the 33-year-old striker on Wednesday evening. It’s believed that talks with Barcelona giants over Aubameyang’s sale are ongoing, with Tuchel a key plauyer in a potential deal.
It’s understood that the German is eager to reunite with the former Arsenal captain and has specifically identified the Gabon international as a priority signing. Meanwhile, talks of Leao swapping the Milan for London have resurfaced.
The 3-4-3 has been synonymous with Chelsea since Tuchel took the helm at Stamford Bridge. Despite an unconvincing display at Elland Road versus Leeds United, the formation has proved successful for the Blues.
With Leao on the left, Aubameyang spearheading the front-three and Raheem Sterling on the right, the west Londoners could be a force to be reckoned with again. However, a formation like this could restrict the minutes given to Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has already admitted that he is ‘not at all worried’ by the Rafael Leao Chelsea transfer and contract speculation.
Boehly plans on bidding £80m outright and adding players wanted by Rossoneri into the operation. Whether or not they accept the structure of the deal being proposed remains to be seen. But the manager’s stance in this situation has indicated that the cynics could be right in the end with their assessment of these transfer rumours.
“If he maintains this level, yes. Otherwise Rebic is there. I’m not at all worried about contractual matters, you can see that he is happy to be with us,” he said via SempreMilan a couple of weeks back in regards to a new deal for Leao.
“Potentially he is a champion, for strength and ability to jump man. He has many goals in his legs, even more than last year. He has grown a lot without the ball, now he must be able to occupy the area better.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic approval
Footballing icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already given his verdict and approval on Rafael Leao as Chelsea plot an ambitious £80million swoop for the AC Milan star.
There are rumours that this deal could prove to be ‘mission impossible’, so is it worth Boehly’s time to concentrate largely on Leao with just over a week left of the summer transfer window?
Well, if Ibrahimovic’s past verdict is anything to go by, then the answer is yes as the Swede has previously gone on record to list the qualities that AC Milan’s number 17 possesses in abundance.
“We all have a different character. He is young, he is maturing, he can still grow a lot for the talent he has,” the former Man United striker told Milan News at the start of 2022. “I couldn’t stimulate him. If he doesn’t help himself, no one can help him. Before this season. He totally changed, he figured out what to do on his own.”
Rafael Leão state of play
90Min reports that Chelsea have held talks with AC Milan over a move for 23-year-old Leao, who proved pivotal in their title win in Serie A last season. However, a deal may seem unlikely as the club’s stance are that his release clause of €150million (£127million) must be paid to let him leave.