Rafael Leao: AC Milan confirm approach from Chelsea

Rafael Leao is a Chelsea target
Rafael Leao is a Chelsea target / Ciancaphoto Studio/GettyImages

AC Milan chief Paolo Maldini has confirmed that he rejected an approach from Chelsea for star forward Rafael Leao.

90min revealed at the end of August that Milan and Chelsea were in talks, and Maldini has now confessed that an 'informal' verbal offer arrived from the Blues but was not even humoured.

"An official offer from Chelsea never arrived, but on an informal level it did. Of course, it was refused, " he confirmed to Sky Italia.

Chelsea were interested in Leao all summer, but a deal was never close with Milan insisting any club wanting him would have to pay his release clause, which currently stands at €150m.

Maldini and Milan are set to look at Leao's release clause as they are aware that Chelsea's interest in the Portuguese star remains, and they want to tie him down to a new contract before any futher approaches can be made in January.

Talks over an extension have already begun and Maldini has urged Leao to stay and fulfil his potential in Milan.

“We have already started talking about it for some time with Leao, [Ismael] Bennacer and [Pierre] Kalulu," he said. "Is Leao’s the most complicated one? Each renewal can be more complicated or easier. The will of the players goes a long way.

"Rafa knows that to become stronger than now the solution is to stay with us. We are a young and growing team. He still has to learn many things, if he reaches a higher level than Milan I think it is also normal to take flight. But we intend to do great things and to grow with him."

90min understands that Leao remains a key Chelsea target and even if a new deal was agreed, it would not put a definitive end to their interest.