Chelsea may need to get a little creative if they are to land Rafael Leao from AC Milan this summer. The Blues have identified the Portuguese star as a forward target ahead of next week’s transfer deadline,
but amid reports the Serie A champions are demanding a fee in the region of £126million for the 23-year-old attacker, the west London club may need to consider a player-plus-cash operation.
Having allowed Romelu Lukaku to rejoin Inter Milan on loan and Timo Werner to return to RB Leipzig on a permanent basis, Chelsea currently find themselves somewhat short of options in attack.
With just three goals in three Premier League matches at the start of this season, the Blues are pushing ahead in their efforts to sign both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Anthony Gordon, while Leao has also emerged as a top target.
However, the Portugal international, who netted eleven goals in 34 league games to help Milan claim the Scudetto last season, comes with a hefty price tag. According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Milan are demanding a fee similar to Leao’s recently-expired release clause of £126m in exchange for the striker.
The Italian giants have been left little choice but to issue such sizeable demands given Sporting Lisbon are owed a reported £13.85m due to the unilateral termination of the player’s contract back in 2018, while Lille saw a 15 per cent sell-on fee included in their agreement to allow the forward to join Milan.
With Chelsea unlikely to cough up £126m in cash, Express Sport take a closer look at a number of players the Blues could seek to include in a deal in order to drive down Milan’s demands.