Milan eye Chelsea duo should they lose €150m Rafael Leao to Blues or Man City

Jason Soutar
AC Milan-linked Chelsea duo Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic standing in a wall

AC Milan will look to sign Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech if Rafael Leao leaves the Serie A club, according to a report.

Interest in Leao is very high after the terrific 2021/22 campaign he had.

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The Rossoneri won the Italian league title for the first time since 2011, owing a lot of their success to the 23-year-old winger.

He scored 11 goals and provided 10 assists in 34 league matches and has started 22/23 well, providing nine goal contributions in eight games across all competitions.

Now a mainstay in the Portugal team, Leao is expected to play a big part for his country at this winter’s World Cup.

Chelsea have been heavily linked with the Portuguese winger in recent months and were reportedly contemplating buying him in the summer transfer window.

Milan unsurprisingly want to tie him down to a new contract, but will not be too upset if a club triggers his €150m release clause.

It will apparently be the release clause or nothing if the Italian champions are to part ways with their prized asset.

Leao’s contract expires in 2024, so Milan are understandably sweating over his future.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, the Rossoneri will try to agree fresh terms with the player, but have two Chelsea players lined up should they lose him.

The Blues pair in question are Ziyech and Pulisic.

Leao is apparently demanding €7m per season, and Milan are willing to offer him €6m plus add-ons.

There is a feeling that the Serie A club would have little choice but to sell Leao should he not agree to sign a new contract.

As well as Chelsea, Premier League champions Manchester City are believed to be monitoring his situation closely.

Should Leao leave for a transfer fee, it is said that Milan would be able to afford both Pulisic and Ziyech, on top of recruits in other positions.

Ziyech was heavily linked with a move to the San Siro in the summer and a deal looked like a real possibility.

Ajax were also reportedly keen on re-signing the Moroccan playmaker following Antony’s €100m transfer to Manchester United.

Milan opted against signing a new right-winger in the summer after making Junior Messias’ move from Crotone permanent.

29-year-old Ziyech fell out of favour under Thomas Tuchel and it is unclear whether or not he will be given a fair chance under new boss Graham Potter.

He has been limited to two appearances in the Premier League so far this campaign and will probably be open to a move elsewhere.

Pulisic, on the other hand, would also likely be willing to seek pastures new.

The American winger is looking forward to being given a second chance under Potter, but may be on the move in 2023 if his playing time does not increase.

Pulisic has featured in more games than Ziyech this term but only has one start so far.

Potter’s only match in charge of Chelsea came in the 1-1 home draw to RB Salzburg in the Champions League, with Pulisic only coming on for the final six minutes of the match.