Chelsea held negotiations with €70m-rated Portugal international

Milan winger Rafael Leao’s deal negotiations have stalled amid interest from Chelsea. Portugal international has had an excellent start to the campaign for the Rossoneri, after enjoying his best goalscoring season last year. Rafael is usually deployed out wide, but can also play through the middle as a centre-forward.

With the Blues losing both Werner and Lukaku in the summer, a versatile attacker was needed in the summer, with Tuchel opting to add Aubameyang in the end. However, the Gabonese centre-forward is reaching the latter stages of his career, so finding a long-term replacement for the African striker would be a smart move.

The London giants are interested in signing Leao, and they’ve now received a boost in their pursuit. Contract discussions between Portugal international and the Rossoneri have stalled, with the young forward demanding an excessive salary to sign a new contract.

The Portuguese centre-forward is already capable of playing an important role at an elite-level club, but at the age of 23 would also provide a long-term solution to Chelsea’s front-line. However, the Rossoneri technical director Paulo Maldini was not happy with this proposal, though, and wanted the Blues to pay Leao’s €150m release clause in full.

The Rossoneri manager Stefano Pioli insisted Milan are determined to tie the in-demand forward to a new contract. The former Lille centre-forward scored twice and provided an assist for Giroud in their recent 3-2 win against city rivals Inter Milan.