AC Milan forward Rafael Leao and his representatives have rejected the first offers of a contract renewal from the Serie A side, 90min understands.
90min revealed before the World Cup that Milan’s attempts to tie Leao down to a new deal before the international break had failed, with long-term admirers Chelsea keeping a very close eye on things.
Chelsea have made Leao one of their top transfer targets for 2023 and have been buoyed by the news that the Portugal international has rejected Milan’s initial proposals for an extension.
Blues owner Todd Boehly is an enormous fan of the 23-year-old forward and is planning to open talks with Milan over a deal to bring Leao to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, having already been informed by Milan that a January transfer is completely out of the question.
Chelsea have already effectively wrapped up the signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig, who will move to London at the end of the season, and there is real hope among those in charge at Stamford Bridge that Leao will follow suit.
However, Milan have maintained their optimism in public, with club president Paolo Scaroni insisting he is calm about the future of the reigning Serie A MVP.
“They tell me that in Milan he is very comfortable, that he is motivated,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I know that [Paolo] Maldini is negotiating with him and as far as I just said: if he negotiates, I’m calm.”
Talks also remain on between Chelsea and Leipzig over centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who has enjoyed a sensational World Cup and has attracted interest from all across Europe.