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Paris Saint-Germain ‘to move for Rafael Leao if Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi leave’

Paris Saint-Germain ‘to move for Rafael Leao if Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi leave’

Paris Saint-Germain have allegedly identified AC Milan forward Rafael Leao as a potential transfer target ahead of the 2023 summer transfer window.

With Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar currently forming the most feared front three in world football, PSG are arguably as strong as they can be in the final third.

However, whether that trio will remain at Parc des Princes in the long term appears increasingly unlikely given the respective uncertainty over Mbappe and Messi.

Earlier this week, it was claimed that the former was keen to leave PSG at the earliest opportunity, a result of ‘feeling betrayed’ due to the role that he has been given in the final third.

Meanwhile, there are lingering doubts over Messi, whose contract expires at the end of the season and still has admirers at former club Barcelona.

Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Although a resolution to either situation does not look imminent, club officials will have to consider alternatives to the high-profile duo.

According to Tuttosport, Leao is very much on PSG’s radar having emerged as one of the star players in Serie A over the past 15 months.

Since the beginning of 2021-22, Leao has contributed 15 goals and 14 assists from 42 outings in Italy’s top flight, substantially enhancing his valuation and reputation.

While Milan would like to retain the services of the Portugal international in the long term, the 23-year-old’s current deal expires in 2024.

Rafael Leao in action for AC Milan on October 8, 2022© Reuters

The report suggests that Milan officials plan to reject any offer which is below his release clause of £131m, something which will prove difficult if Leao has not extended his deal at San Siro by next summer.

Nevertheless, it is further claimed that the Ligue 1 champions would consider meeting such a figure if Messi indicates that he wants to leave at the end of the season.

Since the summer of 2021, PSG have targeted a number of emerging Portuguese players with the trio of Nuno Mendes, Vitinha and Renato Sanches having all recently moved to the French capital.

In terms of age and potential, Leao fits the same profile as his compatriots, but PSG would almost certainly face stiff competition for his signature if he leaves Milan.

Chelsea have been strongly linked with the former Lille man in recent weeks and made a verbal offer as recently as August.

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