Transfer Talk: Red Devils could battle Chelsea for Leao
Manchester United are considering rivalling Chelsea in the race for AC Milan star Rafael Leao.
The attacker, 23, impressed off the bench for Portugal at the World Cup, scoring against Ghana and Switzerland to further enhance his rapidly growing reputation.
With 16 direct goal involvements in 20 appearances for Serie A champs Milan this term, Leao is set to cost his suitors a significant fee with a contract in Italy running until summer 2024.
But that has not deterred the big-spending Blues, who unsuccessfully moved for him earlier this year and are set to do so again in January.
Sky reporter Florian Plettenberg suggested on Monday that the Londoners have had an initial £60million bid rejected, with Milan reportedly demanding more than double that amount.
Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News claim that while United are yet to register a concrete interest, Leao remains firmly on their radar.
Erik ten Hag wants to boost his forward line after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and Old Trafford chiefs still enjoy a strong working relationship with Jorge Mendes, the player's agent.
Leao’s team-mate and former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic stressed his opinion earlier this week that staying put would be the best option for the in-demand ace.
Ibrahimovic, 41, said: "Of course, Milan is the right environment for him. Just look at his growth. When he arrived, he was far from the decisive player he is today.
"Here he is very important for us. Elsewhere, would he be as important? He would have to start from scratch, you can't be sure he would be ready right away."
Manchester City and Real Madrid have also been linked with the former Sporting Lisbon talent, increasing the need for Milan to tie him down to a new deal.
While there have been conflicting suggestions on how those talks are progressing, club president Paolo Scaroni insists he remains "calm" about Leao's future.
In other news
But Sport suggest Los Blancos have scratched Manchester City striker Erling Haaland from their wish list after winning the race for Brazilian teen sensation Endrick.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea will now definitely move for a forward in January following the ACL injury sustained by Armando Broja last weekend.