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Real Madrid face Chelsea, Man City battle for Portuguese forward with €150m release clause



Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

Rafael Leao’s stock has been on the rise for the past eighteen months or so. The Portuguese ace has been on a roll for AC Milan, helping them win the Serie A title last season while he has been in good form this term as well.

Naturally, the 23-year-old is attracting a lot of interest from top clubs across Europe owing to his performances.

Real Madrid are known admirers of Leao and are in the race to sign the Milan forward, but will face competition from Chelsea and Manchester City claims Florian Plettenberg.

The 23-year-old will be entering the final year of his contract with the Rossoneri next summer and is yet to agree on a new deal. And as per the report from Plettenberg, the forward has no desire to extend his deal beyond the summer of 2024.

So, Milan might have to cash in on him the next year itself to avoid the risk of losing him for nothing 18 months later.

This development is certain to create some intrigue in the Real Madrid offices. Vinicius Jr has the left flank locked down at the Santiago Bernabeu. But with Eden Hazard likely to leave soon and Marco Asensio’s future also uncertain, a new attacker could be a good signing.

Leao’s ability to play anywhere across the frontline would make him an asset for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

However, Real Madrid will have to face competition from both Chelsea and Manchester City in pursuit of Leao. The report indicates that the Blues have already made an approach for the 23-year-old but saw their €70 million offer get knocked back by Milan.

It is further reported that the Serie A champions will demand his entire €150 million release clause be paid if suitors wish to sign him up.

With Real Madrid also targeting a big-money move for a midfielder whether they can afford to splash the cash on Leao’s signing as well remains to be seen.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid identify two positions that need strengthening in the summer – report



Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

According to reports from Mario Cortegana (h/t Madrid Zone), Real Madrid have two objectives for the upcoming summer transfer window. The centre-forward and the right-wing position are seen as the two positions to be reinforced but no decision has been made yet about making a move.

This comes over and above the Merengues’ pre-existing need for new midfielders and full-backs in the coming windows.

At first sight, it may appear that Los Blancos are well stacked in the final third. In Vinicius Jr, Karim Benzema and Rodrygo Goes, they have three starting quality players who are well-complemented by the likes of Marco Asensio and Federico Valverde.

Yet, Vinicius is the only player on the aforementioned list who can boast of a starting role in a fixed position for at least the next decade.

There is worry over the centre-forward role considering Benzema’s lack of form and fitness throughout the current campaign. With the Ballon d’Or winner already 35, the club need a young reinforcement soon which is evident with the team’s struggle for goals this term.

Los Blancos have already invested heavily in Endrick in this regard. However, that has not stopped them from following established options like Dusan Vlahovic and Erling Haaland as their Brazilian wonderkid will not arrive until 2024.

The right wing is also understaffed despite the presence of young Rodrygo and Fede Valverde. The duo have no dearth of talent but have not managed to click on the wing as well as the manager would have liked.

Thus, it remains to be seen as to who the club targets to strengthen the wing and aim to stretch the play. Given the heavy investment planned for Jude Bellingham, a low-cost option is likely to be considered.

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