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Chelsea, AC Milan to consider Rafael Leao swap deal?

Chelsea, AC Milan to consider Rafael Leao swap deal?

Chelsea and AC Milan may reportedly be prepared to negotiate a part-exchange deal involving Rafael Leao next summer.

The Portugal international has established himself as one of Milan’s key players, helping the Italian giants win Serie A last season.

During that campaign, Leao contributed 11 goals and 10 assists, and a further four strikes and seven assists have come in all competitions since the middle of August.

However, while Milan would like to agree a new long-term contract with the 23-year-old, an extension is far from a foregone conclusion given the level of interest in the attacker’s signature.

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini revealed last month that Chelsea had made “a verbal proposal” for Leao, only for it to be rejected out of hand.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring against Bologna on October 23, 2021© Reuters

Nevertheless, according to Calciomercato, the Premier League giants may be ready to explore the possibility of a deal during 2023.

The report suggests that a part-exchange deal is likely to be put forward with a number of Chelsea’s fringe players likely to be available for transfer.

Trevoh Chalobah, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all squad members who could come under consideration by the Milan hierarchy.

Chalobah is currently out of favour at Stamford Bridge, the academy graduate limited to only one start in the Premier League this campaign.

Christian Pulisic in Chelsea training on September 13, 2022© Reuters

Although Pulisic provided an assist against Crystal Palace at the weekend, the United States international has been restricted to just 162 minutes of football in the top flight.

Meanwhile, Hudson-Odoi is currently earning regular football on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, where he has made six starts and one substitute outing in all competitions.

The report adds that a deal worth €90m (£78.78m) and at least one of the aforementioned players may be enough to convince Milan into a sale.

With Leao’s contract currently due to expire in 2024, I Rosseneri would have to give serious consideration to any suitable offer in order to avoid losing one of their most prized assets on a free transfer.

Amid talk of Leao’s future, the two clubs are scheduled to go head to head in the Champions League over the next week, the first of two fixtures taking place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.

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