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AC Milan's Rafael Leao opens door to Premier League move

Rafael Leao opens door to Premier League move
© Reuters
AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao opens the door to a future Premier League move and heaps praise on Arsenal amid links with Chelsea and Manchester United.

AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao has opened the door to a future Premier League move, but he has also insisted that he is fully committed to the Serie A champions.

The Portugal international was a driving force in the Rossoneri's run to the Scudetto with 11 goals and 10 assists in 34 top-flight matches during the 2021-22 season.

Leao has further enhanced his reputation as one of Europe's brightest young attackers this season, coming up with seven goals and nine assists across 20 Serie A and Champions League games.

The 23-year-old's form earned him a place in Portugal's squad for the World Cup, and while he did not start a game for his country, he still managed two goals off the bench against Ghana and Switzerland before A Selecao went out to Morocco in the quarter-finals.

Leao is only under contract at San Siro until the end of the 2023-24 season and is believed to be on the radar of several top teams, namely Chelsea and Manchester United.

Rafael Leao celebrates scoring for AC Milan on August 27, 2022© Reuters

When asked by RDP Africa if playing in the Premier League was one of his future career goals, Leao confirmed that he would like to test himself in England while also reaffirming his commitment to Milan.

"Yes, in the future," Leao said when questioned on his desire to play in the Premier League. "But now I'm 100 per cent focused on Milan. I'm at a top club and I'm under contract. I also like the city of Milan."

Milan are working to tie Leao down to a new-and-improved contract as a matter of priority, and the attacker spoke of his admiration for Arsenal in the same interview, adding: "I've seen a lot of games this year. I like Arsenal, I think they play very well."

However, the Gunners are not believed to be actively pursuing a deal for Leao, with Chelsea said to be showing the strongest interest as they scope out replacements for Armando Broja.

The Albania international is out for the season after suffering an ACL injury in a winter friendly against Aston Villa, and Graham Potter's men are without a goal in three competitive matches.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their third goal on September 3, 2022© Reuters

Leao left Lille in 2019 to sign for Milan, and the former Sporting Lisbon youngster has amassed 34 goals and 30 assists in 135 matches for the Italian champions over the past three and a half years.

In order to fend off interest from the Premier League, Milan are reportedly prepared to offer Leao a quintuple-your-money contract, according to Corriere della Sera - via Spanish outlet AS.

Leao would allegedly become the highest-paid member of the Milan squad with a yearly salary of €7m (£6.2m), and Pioli's side are said to be quietly confident about their chances of agreeing a new deal.

However, there is the issue of an outstanding €16.5m (£14.6m) fine that Leao has been ordered to pay to Sporting, as he unilaterally terminated his contract with the Portuguese champions to sign for Lille.

Chelsea are set to bolster their attacking ranks next month with the signing of Molde striker David Datro Fofana, while RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku is expected to join in the summer.

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