Arsenal and Newcastle United are reportedly considering making a summer move for AC Milan and Portugal forward Rafael Leao.
According to Fichajes, AC Milan forward Rafael Leao is set to become a man in demand in the Premier League in the summer transfer window, with Arsenal and Newcastle United interested in signing him.
Leao came through the youth ranks at Portuguese club Sporting CP before securing a move to LOSC Lille in 2018. A decent debut campaign in France compelled AC Milan to splash the cash on signing him in 2019. After a slow start to life in Italy, the 22-year-old is currently enjoying his best season with the Rossoneri.
Leao has produced a tally of ten goals and six assists from 27 matches across all competitions for Milan, emerging as one of their most important players in the 2021/22 campaign. His performances have not gone unnoticed as there has been interest from Premier League champions Manchester City in the recent past. Now, Arsenal and Newcastle United have also joined the list of his admirers.
Arsenal will be forced into the market for new forwards in the summer as Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are out of contract at the end of the season. In addition to that, Nicolas Pepe is staring at an uncertain future at the Emirates, having dropped down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta this season.
So, the Gunners will need multiple attacking signings in the summer, with a top-quality striker likely to be the main priority. At the same time, a multi-faceted player like Leao, who can play anywhere across the frontline and is in good nick, would also be an appealing target for the north London giants.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are planning for a major splurge in the summer transfer window backed by their new owners. Their 1-0 win over Aston Villa over the weekend meant that Eddie Howe’s side are four points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand over 18th-placed Norwich City. The Magpies will go big in the next transfer window if they successfully avoid the drop.
The attacking department is expected to be a key area of focus for Newcastle due to their overdependence on Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson in the final third. The Tynesiders brought in Chris Wood during the January window. But someone like Leao would add more mobility, pace and directness to the frontline while being a long-term signing for the club.
Milan paid €30 million to sign Leao from Lille in 2019. Considering his growth and the duration left on his contract, the Rossoneri will demand a much higher sum for his signing. So, it will be interesting to see whether Arsenal and Newcastle act upon their interest in the Portuguese international in the summer.