Chelsea hopeful of signing Serie A target as contract negotiations stall

Chelsea are looking to revamp their squad
Chelsea are looking to revamp their squad / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Chelsea are confident they will be able to lure Rafael Leao away from AC Milan, 90min understands, with the Portugal forward yet to agree a contract extension at San Siro.

23-year-old Leao, who was named Serie A's MVP last year, is under contract until 2024 and 90min has previously revealed that Milan are prepared to make him the highest-paid player in the division to keep him away from Chelsea.

Milan officials had wanted to tie Leao down to a new deal before he departed for World Cup duty but that has not happened, despite their lucrative offer to the forward.

With the Serie A side struggling to agree a deal, Chelsea are watching closely as they ready an approach in 2023 to recruit one of their top attacking targets, and sources have confirmed that there is an optimism at Stamford Bridge that they will be able to land Leao's signature.

Regardless of his contract situation, Milan have made it clear to Chelsea that they will not entertain a January sale but the Blues are expected to begin work on a deal to bring Leao to the club in summer.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are close to finalising a deal for another forward, Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig.

Chelsea have agreed to pay over his £58m release clause, which is only active in summer, to win the race for his signature and allow them to spread the payment out in instalments, and talks are now on over whether the Frenchman will join in January or the summer, with the latter more likely as it stands.

Club scouts are also looking for a pure striker and have watched Napoli's Victor Osimhen, Brentford's Ivan Toney and Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram in recent weeks.