Manchester United have reportedly stepped up their pursuit of Sporting CP starlet Rafael Leao, who is being chased by Manchester City and Real Madrid.

According to The Mirror, Manchester United have joined the chase for Rafael Leao and are stepping up their pursuit of the Sporting CP starlet. The wonderkid though is also on the radar of Manchester City and Real Madrid, who must now battle with Manchester United to land the player.

Rafael Leao has taken Portuguese football by storm, with his rapid and sudden emergence at Sporting CP. At 18, the youngster is being hailed as one of the most gifted players of his generation, which has seen widespread interest in his services, with several scouts watching his performances closely.

While Leao has been lights out for Sporting CP in Ledman Liga Pro and the UEFA Youth League, his senior footballing career has also started well, with the striker boasting a goal and an assist in 3 Liga NOS appearances thus far this season.

The report entails that Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all interested in the 18-year-old. In fact, talent spotters from Real Madrid and all of the top six Premier League sides were in attendance as Leao scored for Sporting CP in a 2-1 defeat for the club at the hands of FC Porto.

Another prodigy from the Portuguese powerhouse. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Another prodigy from the Portuguese powerhouse. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City were the first club to be linked with a move for Rafael Leao. But, Sporting CP have so far refuted all incoming approaches and enquiries for the 18-year-old striker.

Real Madrid could be viewing Rafael Leao as a long-term addition to don the role as the leader in attack, replacing compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo in due time. Manchester City, on the other hand, have been looking at Leao as a prospect who could indeed grow to become one of the best in the world and are eager to add him to what is an already star-studded and talent-heavy squad at Etihad.

Manchester United though, could be the club to finally unlock negotiations with Sporting CP. The Red Devils have a good standing business relationship with the club, having signed Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani from the club earlier.

The report states that Jose Mourinho has taken a liking to Leao and has advised Ed Woodward to negotiate an early deal for the 18-year-old, leaving Manchester City and Real Madrid in their wake.

There has been no change in Sporting CP’s stance as regards the availability of Rafael Leao. But, one would think that, if it does change in the near future, Manchester United will stand as the one who is ahead of the lot in pursuit of the 18-year-old striker.

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