Manchester City join Liverpool and Chelsea in race to sign attacker with £129 million release clause: Reports

Manchester City and Liverpool both chasing top-class attacker.
Manchester City and Liverpool both chasing top-class attacker.

Manchester City have reportedly joined Liverpool and Chelsea in the race to sign AC Milan forward Rafael Leao.

According to Italian outlet Calcio Mercato, the 23-year-old is aware of the interest shown in him by the Premier League's top three. However, Leao wants to stay at the San Siro following an excellent season.

The Portuguese international played a crucial part in guiding the Rossoneri to their first Scudetto in a decade. He netted 14 times and provided 12 assists in his 42 appearances across all competitions last season.

Rafael Leao currently earns €1.5m per year at Milan and his contract runs until 2024. Milan have offered him €4m per year, Mendes rejected it, and wants €6m. Even though Milan will demand €150m (his release clause) from suitors, I think this is the best time for them to sell.

Leao is determined to continue his development at Milan under manager Stefan Pioli, having already spent three years at the club. Predominately used as a winger, the versatile forward can also play as a centre-forward.

Milan director Paolo Maldini recently told Gazzetta dello Sport, as per HITC Sport, that his star attacker is not for sale. He stated that clubs would have to pay the player's €150 million release clause. The Italian said:

“He is untouchable, that is for sure. He is still a rough diamond and improved a lot in a year. We signed him when he was a bench player at Lille for €24 million and inserted a €150 million release clause because we believed in him a lot."
“He has always been a potential champion and just needed some help. In the future, things might change if Milan were not at his level or vice versa. But both are in a period of exponential growth right now.”
José Mourinho: "Rafael Leão? What a player! He's unstoppable. Milan found the perfect dynamic for his qualities. I hope he's a good kid, with a good mentality and with good people around him because he can be a great player, a great, great player."

Would Serie A superstar be a good fit for Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea?

The left-winger has two years left on his contract at the Italian giants. He certainly has the potential to be one of European football's leading attackers.

Manchester City's pursuit of the attacker is intriguing as they have already signed centre-forwards Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.

Chelsea have plenty of options in attack, including new arrival Raheem Sterling, as well as Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi. However, with Mason Mount being the Blues' top scorer last term (15), they are no doubt in need of more efficient strikers.

Liverpool sold Sadio Mane earlier in the summer and replaced him with 23-year-old Benfica superstar Darwin Nunez. Leao's versatility and pace would make him an ideal option for Jurgen Klopp. The 23-year-old would make a nice addition to an attack featuring Mo Salah, Jordan Henderson, and Diogo Jota.

#Chelsea are the only club to have officially enquired about AC Milan winger Rafael Leão so far.(@Gazzetta_it)

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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