AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has hinted at the club’s plan to extend Rafael Leao’s contract after reportedly turning down Chelsea’s approach for the winger this summer.
The Blues were reportedly looking a number of potential attacking targets towards the end of the summer transfer window, including Leao.
Based on reports in Italy that Chelsea were prepared to break their transfer record to sign the 23-year-old, he was likely very high on the London club’s list.
However, Milan were understandably not interested in losing such a key player, who played a big part in their Serie A-winning campaign last season.
According to journalist Ben Jacobs, Milan’s stance was very clear: any club would have to pay the winger’s full €150million (£130m) to take him away from San Siro.
Obviously, Chelsea decided not to pay a such high price for a player who has just two years left in his contract.
However, Milan seem to want to make sure that they will not be in a disadvantageous negotiating position next summer when Leao eventually enters the final year of his contract.
Pioli has commented on a potential contract extension for the winger.
Milan to offer Leao new contract amid reported Chelsea interest
“These are not things that I can decide, but I believe the club wants to offer Leao a new deal soon,” the manager told the reporters (via Stadium Astro).
“He is working at the best level.
“Rafa has beautiful attitudes, he knows that he has been gifted with talent.
“Then for the contract, whoever has to do what he has to do.”
Leao’s teammate and former Chelsea striker, Olivier Giroud, was also confident that the Portugal international would stay in Milan.
“I was not worried about him,” the France international said.
“I knew he would remain here.”