Chelsea have reportedly been in talks with AC Milan over a deal for Rafael Leao, who is said to be interested in a move to the Premier League.
Leao was named Serie A’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ last season as his 11 goals and eight assists helped Milan to their first scudetto in 11 years.
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Leao has been on Chelsea’s radar for most of the summer and turned out to be one of their main goals after missing out on Leeds’ Raphinha, who opted for Barcelona instead.
Reports of talks over an improved Milan contract dampened Chelsea’s interest, but they have now been encouraged by the Italian side to resume negotiations.
and The times claim the two clubs met over the weekend to discuss terms, including the possibility of Milan “taking a player or players” in exchange for the 23-year-old.
The report also states that Chelsea have been asked to structure the deal in such a way that Leao is released from a substantial fine imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which he owes to former club Sporting.
CAS ordered Leao and Lille to pay Sporting £13.9m (which has since risen to £16m, with 25 per cent of Leao’s salary being withheld by the court each month) after the striker unilaterally terminated his contract before he joined the Ligue 1 side who he played against for a season before moving to Milan for £27m.
The Portugal international’s representatives claim it is in Chelsea’s ‘sporting interest’ to allay Leao’s concerns about the fine once he joins.
Milan – who will have to pay Lille 20 per cent of the profit they make on a sale – are said to value Leao “over £80m”.
He could join Wesley Fofana in the Chelsea ranks, although Leicester have reportedly done so turned down a third “highly conditional” offer from the Blues for the centre-back, as well as Anthony Gordon, for whom they are willing to pay £60m.
Gordon is said to have told Everton he wanted to leave the club because he wanted to play Champions League football and believes it will give him a better chance of being included in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad this winter.
talkSPORT pandit Simon Jordon is amazed at the price.
He said: “Anthony Gordon for £60m?! What?! I mean Haaland went for £51m, ok that’s because someone protected his contract and put him in a situation where the player was in control by having a release clause.
“£60m for Anthony Gordon?! Quickly send him into a cab before anyone actually wakes up and smells the coffee. 60 million pounds?!”