Chelsea handed big Rafael Leao boost with AC Milan star ‘not willing to extend’ contract | Football | Sport


Chelsea have been handed a major boost in their pursuit of AC Milan star Rafael Leao, with the forward reportedly turning down a contract extension offer at the club. The Blues saw a bid rejected for the winger over the summer but are expected to reignite their interest in January.

After replacing Thomas Tuchel in the Stamford Bridge dugout, Graham Potter is expected to be well-backed throughout the upcoming transfer windows. The former Swansea boss is expected to push for Chelsea to pursue some of the brightest young talents in world football in a bid to create a squad that can compete for trophies for many years to come.

Midfield is an area of concern for Potter given that N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are both out of contract at the end of the season. Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo are among those deemed as ideal replacements.

Though Potter is not content with his options in the final third it appears, remaining keen for the Blues to pick up where they left off in the summer and push to sign Leao. And, according to transfer expert Florian Plettenberg, their hopes of doing so have received a boost as the player does not want to extend his contract with Milan.

He tweeted on Monday: “Excl news Leao. At this stage he doesn’t want to extend beyond 2024. Not confident with the offer. Chelsea, City, Real in. #CFC held talks about him in Qatar. Milan refused Chelseas offer (€70m). They want €150m. The amount of the release clause.”

The Serie A side appear to have decided that they will stick to their guns and only allow Leao to leave the club if his release clause of £128million is met. That figure is over double the amount that Chelsea were willing to pay for the forward in the summer, when they saw a £60m bid rejected.

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