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"They made a verbal proposal and we rejected" - Paolo Maldini confirms Chelsea's attempt to sign AC Milan winger this summer

Maldini claims Chelsea made advancements for Rafael Leao this summer
Maldini claims Chelsea made advancements for Rafael Leao this summer

AC Milan technical director Paolo Maldini has confirmed Chelsea's reported interest in Rafael Leao, claiming they made a verbal approach for the winger in the summer window. The Rossoneri, however, rejected their advancements to keep hold of the Portugal international.

The west London side, under new ownership, dived deep into the transfer market, splashing over £250 million this summer to add reinforcements. Leao was one of the many names on their transfer wishlist and they eventually failed to sign the Milan attacker.

Maldini revealed that while Chelsea did not make an official bid for the player, they made a 'verbal proposal', which was rejected by Milan. He further added that Leao will be a big part of their project going forward.

"Chelsea haven't sent 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 Leao in our project," Maldini said as per Fabrizio Romano.
AC Milan director Maldini: “Chelsea haven’t send any official bid for Leão — but they made a verbal proposal… and we rejected, of course”. 🚨🇵🇹 #ACMilan #CFC“He knows that staying here is the best way to improve. We want to do great things with Rafa Leão in our project”. https://t.co/1LoudrNvDT

The Blues signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona to shore up their offense after losing both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner in the summer.

Chelsea yet to find form after summer spending spree

The 2021 Champions League winners have had a torrid start to the season that has seen former manager Thomas Tuchel get sacked. He has since been replaced by Graham Potter, who left Brighton & Hove Albion and has overseen just one match so far.

The 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg on September 14 was Potter's first match in charge of the side. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for the home side at Stamford Bridge but his goal was canceled by Noah Okafor in the 75th minute.

The chant for Thomas Tuchel in the 21st minute. #cfc https://t.co/lQFIuYml1G

The draw left Chelsea bottom of Group E of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) with just one point. They lost their opening group stage match of the season to Dinamo Zagreb, which reportedly triggered Tuchel's sacking.

In the Premier League, they are currently sixth with 10 points in six matches. They will next face London rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday, October 1.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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