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AC Milan concede Chelsea-linked Leao could still be sold following failed summer transfer bid

12:07 GMT+3 26/09/2022
Rafael Leao AC Milan 2022-23
Rafael Leao was heavily linked with Chelsea over the summer and AC Milan director Paolo Maldini admits that offers were tabled for the forward.
  • Linked with a move to England
  • Only under contract until 2024
  • Big offer could force sale

WHAT HAPPENED? After helping the Rossoneri to Serie A glory last season, interest began to build in the 23-year-old forward – who hit 14 goals across the 2021-22 campaign. Interest was said to have been shown from Stamford Bridge, and Maldini concedes that – despite the club fending off advances for now – every player in the modern era has a price.

WHAT THEY SAID: Milan legend Maldini, who is now sporting director at San Siro, told reporters at the Trento sport festival: "Have I rejected offers for Leao and Theo Hernandez? I told some not to even show up.

"The problem is that then they come back, and then you have to decide what to do. In the context of the sustainability of the club, I repeat that we have the accounts in order, and we don’t need to sell anyone. We want to keep the strongest players, but today there are no more non-transferable players."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Milan were able to see out the last transfer window with Leao still on their books, they have been unable to put a new contract in place with an exciting talent that is only tied to terms through to 2024. Madini has also said of the riches possessed by those in England: "The bottom-placed Premier League team has a bigger budget than ours, the gap has now become unsustainable."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR LEAO? The Portugal international, who will be hoping to star at the 2022 World Cup later this year, has hit three goals in eight appearances this season and continues to attract admiring glances ahead of the January window.