Rafael Leao

Manchester United have been dealt a potential blow in their pursuit of AC Milan forward Rafael Leao, according to reports.

The 23-year-old is said to be close to agreeing fresh terms with the current Italian champions, despite ongoing interest linking the Portuguese star with a move to Chelsea, Arsenal and United. Milan are said to be keen on keeping hold of one of their most prized assets, with club director Frederic Massara hinting that discussions have begun regarding the play extending his stay.

Erik ten Hag has highlighted in recent weeks that he must ‘manage’ his attacking options, with the fitness of Anthony Martial already presenting an issue. Cristiano Ronaldo is also not getting any younger, now aged 37.

As relayed by the Metro most recently, the Milan director has claimed that talks are already underway. “We’re confident to reach an agreement with Rafael Leao and extend his contract,” the AC Milan chief said. “We’ll try to find a solution to proceed with Rafa for long time. His father’s here tonight, we’ll speak during the dinner.”

Premier League rivals Chelsea were said to be leading the race to sign the player this summer, after he netted an impressive 14 goals and laid on a further 12 assists for the Serie A champions last season. The forward is under contract at the San Siro until 2024 with United still hopefully of potentially agreeing a deal later this year.

Elsewhere, reports suggest Liverpool want to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona. United went public in their pursuit for the Netherlands player this summer.

However, the 25-year-old opted to stay put at the Nou Camp.

De Jong remains on the radar for United moving forward – despite Casemiro being brought in – although the Old Trafford giants could face competition for his signature. Spanish outlet SPORT credit Liverpool with an interest in him to bolster their own midfield.

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