Chelsea remain in contact with the entourage of AC Milan winger Rafael Leao, according to the Gazzetta Dello Sport (via TMW).
The Italian newspaper claim the Blues are in pole position to snap up the Portuguese international if he opts against signing a new contract with the Serie A champions.
Leao’s current deal expires in 2024 and he has been offered €6.5m a season (roughly £102,000 a week) to stay at the San Siro but there is increasing pessimism that he will put pen to paper on an extension.
Manager Graham Potter has already described Leao as a “top player”, while BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand praised the 23-year-old following his performance against Tottenham last month:
“I think what’s great about him is that he can change the rhythm of the game. The game was played at his pace, he can run about and then walk with the ball. If you can do that at the highest level, that tells me that there is something special there. I think he’s got enough there for teams to say ‘you know that I would like that at my disposal’. He’s doing that in a struggling team this year as well.”
Leao has a €150m (£133m) release clause but, due to his contract situation, it’s likely that he will be sold for around half that this summer. Manchester United and Manchester City have also been credited with an interest but it appears Chelsea are in the driving seat at the moment.