Date:16th September 2022 at 7:01am
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AC Milan’s development director Paolo Maldini has revealed that Chelsea made a “verbal proposal” to sign their in-form Portuguese forward Rafael Leao.

What’s the word?

That is according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, who took to Twitter to share the update with his followers.

The Italian journalist relayed quotes from Maldini, who stated: “Chelsea haven’t send any official bid for Leão — but they made a verbal proposal… and we rejected, of course”

“He knows that staying here is the best way to improve. We want to do great things with Rafa Leão in our project”.

Boehly’s statement of intent

Having splashed out more than £250m in the summer transfer window, that sum could have surged past £300m if Chelsea owner Todd Boehly had got his way with the £63m-rated Leao.

The 23-year-old has started this season in blistering form, having registered three goals and three assists in Milan’s first six Serie A games, along with two assists in the Champions League.

The Portugal international has asserted himself as a key figure for the Rossoneri, finishing the 2021/22 domestic season as their joint-top scorer (11) and leading assists provider (eight).

There is so much more to Leao’s game, though, which makes him such a sought-after prospect for some of Europe’s elite clubs.

His ability to progress the ball also makes him stand out, with his match average of 8.66 progressive carries and 3.34 carries into the final third seeing him rank among the top 12% for both metrics among positionally similar players in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months.

Helping Milan to the Serie A title for their first time in 11 years will have given the 23-year-old a boost, whilst his integration with veteran duo Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could stand him in excellent stead in the long run.

Milan’s perfect mix of attackers is creating a monster of a player in Leao, and whilst Chelsea were unsuccessful in trying to acquire the Portugal star’s services in the summer, Boehly and co will surely be back for a second attempt at some point in the near future given the player’s recent form.