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Manchester United ‘preparing to battle Chelsea for Rafael Leao’

Manchester United ‘preparing to battle Chelsea for Rafael Leao’

Manchester United are reportedly keeping a close eye on Rafael Leao‘s contract situation at AC Milan.

The 23-year-old’s existing deal at San Siro is due to expire in June 2024, and there has been a host of speculation surrounding his long-term future.

A recent report claimed that Milan are preparing to open discussions with the attacker’s representatives in the hope of convincing him to pen a long-term agreement with the Italian giants.

However, Chelsea continue to be heavily linked with the Portugal international, and it is believed that the Blues had at least one offer rejected for him during the summer transfer market.

The Blues are expected to reignite their pursuit in 2023, but according to The Mirror, there is also firm interest from Man United, with the Red Devils keeping a close eye on the developments.

Rafael Leao celebrates scoring for AC Milan on August 27, 2022© Reuters

The report claims that Man United head coach Erik ten Hag is a huge admirer of the Portuguese and sent scouts to watch him against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Leao was in strong form for his Italian club during the 2021-22 campaign, making 42 appearances in all competitions, contributing 14 goals and 12 assists in the process.

The forward netted 11 times and provided 10 assists in 34 Serie A outings, as the Red and Blacks won the title.

Leao has again been in impressive form at the start of this season, scoring four goals and registering seven assists in 12 appearances in all competitions.

The attacker started his professional career at Sporting Lisbon before making the move to Lille in 2018, spending one season with the French outfit ahead of a switch to Milan.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their third goal on September 3, 2022© Reuters

Man United spent big money on Antony during the recent transfer window, while they also have the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as options in the final third.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo is widely expected to leave the 20-time English champions on a free transfer next year, which could see the club bring in a new centre-forward.

A recent report claimed that Man United had also been in touch with Inter Milan to discuss a possible deal for Lautaro Martinez but were told that he was not for sale.

Rashford and Antony are the team’s joint-leading goalscorers in the Premier League this season with three, while Sancho and Martial both have two.

Ronaldo’s first league goal of the campaign came at Everton last weekend, and the 37-year-old is in contention to lead the line against Newcastle United on Sunday.

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