Chelsea 'offered two players in exchange for Rafael Leao last summer'

Chelsea ‘offered TWO stars in a swap deal with AC Milan for Rafael Leao’… but Italian giants only wanted his £131m release clause paid in full

  • AC Milan star Rafael Leao continues to be one of the standout players in Serie A
  • He recently signed a new contract with Milan to end speculation over his future 
  • Chelsea tried to bring him in last summer and offered two players in exchange 

Chelsea reportedly offered two players in exchange when trying to strike a stunning deal to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao last summer.

The Portuguese winger has dazzled for Stefano Pioli’s side since joining in 2019, scoring 40 goals and adding 34 assists in 159 games.

He was a major part of their Scudetto triumph last season when he scored 11 goals and added 10 assists which led to him being named the Serie A MVP.

As a result, Leao was attracting interest from many top European clubs with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2024.

And, according to The Athletic, Chelsea attempted to lure him away from the Rossoneri with an ambitious proposition.

Chelsea reportedly made a stunning attempt to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao last summer

Co-owners Behdad Eghbali (left) and Todd Boehly (right) offered two different Chelsea players in exchange to sweeten any potential transfer deal

Leao had just helped to guide Milan to the Scudetto after scoring 11 goals and adding 10 assists

At the time, the Blues were in the midst of their first transfer window under the Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali-led ownership, with the group subsequently spending more than £600m on several players across the summer and winter windows.

They presented several different options to try and force through a move for the Milan star. 

The report states Chelsea valued Leao – who has also won 18 caps for Portugal – at around £87m and planned to include a player in exchange to sweeten any potential transfer deal.

Two separate stars were offered by the club and these were out-of-favour forwards Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.

As negotiations dragged on, the club’s valuation of both players – who have struggled for gametime this season – reduced in an attempt to tempt Milan to take one of them.

Pioli’s side were not for budging and felt the Blues’ interest had arisen too late in the summer and were steadfast in holding out for the £131m (€150M) release clause in his contract.

However, this didn’t stop Chelsea pursuing Leao and the club returned for a status update on the forward after the January transfer window closed to see if he would be signing a new deal. 

Both Hakim Ziyech (left) and Christian Pulisic (right) were offered as makeweights for a deal

Leao has recently signed a new five-year contract after continuing his stunning form for Milan

Despite his favoured position being on the left wing, the Blues considered Leao for their problematic striker position as an inability to score continues to haunt them.

But, given Leao penned a new five-year contract with the club last week which saw his buyout clause rise to £153m (€175m), it looks as if Milan have successfully warded off interest from Chelsea for the time being.

The Italian giants will hope to have Leao back for their final few games of the season after he has been absent with an adductor problem in recent times.

They are currently fifth in Serie A with three games to go and are in real danger of missing out on the Champions League next season, while they also face a challenge to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their semi-final clash against bitter rivals Inter Milan in this season’s competition.

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