Wednesday, December 6News That Matters

Chelsea ‘offered’ two players to sign Rafael Leao from AC Milan

Chelsea reportedly offered Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic as part of a swap deal to sign Rafael Leao from AC Milan.

The club’s o-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali were in the midst of their first transfer window and made a proposal to Milan for the Portugal international.

The Blues valued Leao at around £87m but wished to include players in exchange to reduce the cash fee and make up for the overall package.

According to The Athletic, Chelsea offered Ziyech and Pulisic to Milan, but their bid was immediately turned down as the Serie A club were not convinced.

They felt Chelsea showed interest too late in the transfer window and pointed to the £130m release clause Leao had in his contract, which Boehly and Eghbali were not ready to pay

Four months later, the London side went back to sign Leao after he impressed in both Champions League games against the Blues earlier in the campaign.

But again, they were unable to sign Leao. The then-manager Graham Potter decided to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk in a £87million deal instead.

After the end of the January window, Chelsea attempted again to have a look at Leao’s situation, with his contract slowly running out.

But, they are set to miss out on the player for the third window in a row after he signed a five-year deal.

Chelsea will now have to look elsewhere for attacking targets this summer as incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino tries to improve their forward line.

The Blues have struggled for goals this campaign, scoring just 36 in 35 games, fewer than relegation-threatened Leeds and Leicester City.

Interim manager Frank Lampard has won just one of his opening eight games in charge and they were held to a 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest.

Speaking after the game, Lampard said: “The second half was ours, control of the game was ours, obviously, in terms of possession, but in the first half we weren’t dynamic enough in the top end of the pitch.

“Everything we spoke about at the start of the game, it was too slow. Unfortunately, it seems to be intrinsic here at the minute where we play a lot of passes but they are not to break lines or to threaten the opposition in the top end of the pitch.”

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