Man Utd boost as two ‘obstacles’ hamper €80m attacker target’s contract talks with Serie A giants

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd target Rafael Leao

Two ‘obstacles’ are reportedly getting in the way of AC Milan forward Rafael Leao signing a new contract amid reports linking him with Man Utd.

The 23-year-old has emerged as one of the standout players in Serie A over the past couple of seasons.

He grabbed 11 goals and eight assists in 34 league outings as AC Milan ended the 2021/22 campaign as Serie A champions.

The left winger’s great form has continued this term as he has been involved in 19 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions.

Leao – who is valued at €80m on transfermarkt – has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months.

Ben Jacobs recently reported that Leao is one of the players Man Utd are “looking at”.

“There’s Muhammad Kudus, the Ghanaian that was excellent at the World Cup and who Erik ten Hag knows very well from his time at Ajax,” Jacobs said.

“But Leao is a player that they’ve looked at, but there’s nothing much more to it than that at this stage and it’s a very long shortlist of strikers for Manchester United.

“The key thing for Manchester United and other suitors to understand about [Rafael] Leao is whether he signs a new deal because that in all likelihood takes him out of the equation for a summer move. But also what the price is, and that’s the big thing in all of this that Milan have always been really really strong and firm and high in their valuation.

“That’s what’s put off suitors and if they’d have dropped on price to ultimately cash in then Leao probably would have already been at Chelsea and playing in the Premier League.”

Leao is out of contract in 2024 and he has been in talks with AC Milan over a new contract of late.

Italian outlet Calciomercato are reporting that Leao’s ‘intention’ is to ‘remain at the Rossoneri’.

The current salary offer on the table from AC Milan is an initial €6m a year that could reach €7m with bonuses. This is not enough for Leao, as he wants ‘a fixed salary of €7.5m’.

A second ‘obstacle’ to overcome is the €15m that is owed to Leao’s former club, Sporting Lisbon. The player is being forced to pay this after his contract with the Portuguese side was cancelled before he joined AC Milan.

The report adds that Leao ‘expects substantial help from Milan in the form of a signing bonus but at the moment there are no openings to this type of solution from the Rossoneri club’.

‘New contacts are expected in the coming days’ but it is noted that AC Milan ‘will be forced to sell this summer’ if Leao does not pen a contract extension.

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