Chelsea are interested in Rafael Leao as he eyes AC Milan pay rise

The summer transfer window is closed for the big leagues in Europe. But looking ahead to January, there are a lot of rumors circulating about who is moving where. Transfer Talk brings you the latest in rumours, rumours, comings, goings and of course deals done!

TOP STORY: Leao is aiming for a contract extension at AC Milan despite Chelsea interest

AC Milan striker Rafael Leao According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Chelsea are keen to sign new terms at the San Siro as Chelsea continue to monitor his situation.

The 23-year-old Portugal international striker is currently under contract at AC Milan until 2024 but after Chelsea tried to make a move for his signature towards the end of the summer transfer window, the Rossoneri wasted no time in entering into contract talks for a new long-term deal.

After contributing to eight goals in as many games in all competitions this season, Leao reportedly wants to reach an agreement before the start of the World Cup in November to avoid potential distractions. The Serie A champions are ready to offer him a pay rise to an amount in the region of €6m per season on his current contract, but it is understood he is aiming closer to €7m overall.

It was previously reported that AC Milan are targeting a €150m transfer fee, his release clause, before talks about a possible transfer begin.

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10.44 CET: Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo has said he will not retire from international duty after the World Cup and wants to compete at Euro 2024.

The Manchester United striker said the “road is not over” for him as he spoke at a gala hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) on Tuesday to become the men’s top international goalscorer in September 2021 .

“I’m proud to receive an award of this magnitude,” said Ronaldo. “I never thought that one day I could achieve it. I thank everyone who has been important in my career. It’s been a long road, but I want to say that my road is not over yet. [You’re going to have to] take some more load off of Cris [Ronaldo.]”

Since making his debut for Portugal in 2003, Ronaldo has scored 117 goals in 189 international appearances, beating the former Iran striker’s record 109 goals Ali Daei.

A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo captained Portugal to Euro 2016 and Nations League 2019.

“I hope to be part of the Federation for a few more years,” he added. “I still feel motivated, my ambition is high. I’m in a team with young people. I want to be part of this World Cup and also the European Championship, I will accept that immediately.”

10.22 CET: El Mundo have disclosed some of the contract demands they have made Lionel Messi to renew his contract with Barcelona in 2020.

The Spanish newspaper claim to have had access to documents and emails showing that Messi wanted a three-year contract, a €10m signing bonus, guarantees on deferred wage repayments, the reduction of his release clause and a private box for his and Luis Suárez‘s families at Camp Nou.

Later that same year, after the 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich, Messi submitted a transfer request via office fax, a sort of registered letter, but it wasn’t until 2021 that he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

In 2021 he had agreed the terms of a new deal with new president Joan Laporta, although Barca couldn’t afford to register him at LaLiga while his requests the previous year never got the green light from former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Messi wanted to extend his contract until 2023 with a unilateral option to extend it for another year. He also wanted his release clause to be reduced from €700m to a symbolic €10,000.

He was willing to pay 20% of his fixed salary in 2020/21 (which was then around 70 million again in the following seasons.

According to the report, Messi also wanted guarantees, among other things, that his brother Rodrigo, an agent, would receive the payments owed to him by the club and that his salary would be adjusted accordingly in the event of any tax increases.

09.33 CET: Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi is Barcelona’s No. 1 target to replace Sergio Busquets next season, according to various reports in the Catalan media.

Zubimendi, 23, has a contract with Anoeta until 2025 and a €60m release clause which La Real are looking to increase, according to Mundo Deportivo. He is facing his 100th appearance for Real Sociedad after the international break and was also capped once by Spain despite not being in Luis Enrique’s recent squad.

Barca are preparing for life after Busquets, who is now 34 and will be out of contract next summer. Diario Sport report he wants to leave when his contract expires, with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami an option for the Spain midfielder.

09.11 CET: Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt believes he made the right move to join Bayern Munich from Juventus in the summer for €77m.

The former Ajax star snubbed Barcelona and joined Juventus in 2019 for €75m, making 117 appearances for the Turin giants. But this summer, the 23-year-old signed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions.

“For me, moving to Bayern Munich was a leap in quality in terms of the squad,” he told Sky Italy. “It’s a club that has the ambition to always win the Champions League. At Juventus that ambition was less.

“I felt it was the right time to make that leap in quality and I did it. I had a lot of fun at Juventus, but Bayern is closer to the philosophy of the national team.”

08.42 CET: Atlético Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has revealed that he was close to joining Barcelona in the last January transfer window.

Morata, who was on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, even spoke to Barcelona manager Xavi about the possibility of moving to the Camp Nou.

“There were options,” said Morata, who returned to Atletico this summer after a two-year loan spell at Juve. “I talked to Xavi, we talked about football and other things. It felt good to talk to Xavi, the coach and former player I looked up to growing up.

“I had four or five chances in the winter transfer window but ended up leaving the Juventus manager [Massimiliano] Allegri wanted me to stay. Allegri wanted me to stay at Juventus and told me he wanted me to play with him [Dusan] Vlahovic. Besides, Atlético was the one who had the last day.”

08.00 CET: Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio has remained silent on his future amid reports that Barcelona are interested in him.

Asensio, 26, hasn’t signed a contract extension with Madrid as his contract expires next summer.

Asked if Barca have contacted him, Asensio said Deal with: “I honestly do not know. I’m focused on the present, on the now and I’m here to give my all for the national team and then with my club. I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t evaluated it. These are things that arise.

“At that time I had 200 messages from my friends [Barcelona reports] came out. I told them that I live in a world where there are a lot of rumors and it’s normal. From January I can sign with any club and it is normal that I get linked with many other clubs.

“There will always be news that I cannot control.”

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Matt Turner and Brenden Aaronson discuss preparing for the World Cup with games against Japan and Saudi Arabia.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

Arkadiusz Milik impressed during his loan spell at Juventus, who want to sign him on a permanent basis, says Calciomercato. The 28-year-old forward has scored three goals in three starts Bianconeri since joining from Marseille in the summer, and the deal includes an option allowing the Serie A club to sign him for €7m.

– Arsenal have been linked with Eintracht Frankfurt Jesper Lindstrom late but SPORT1 announces that there is no release clause in his contract, which expires in 2026. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has been a key player for Frankfurt since a breakout season in 2021/22 and it looks like teams from across Europe will be monitoring his progress in January.

– Everton midfielder Alan is in talks with Al Wahda, writes Football Insider. The 31-year-old has yet to play for Frank Lampard’s side this season and with the transfer window open until October 4 in the UAE Pro League they are hoping to sign Allan before the deadline. The Brazilian joined Everton from Napoli for £21m in 2020.

– AC Milan are chasing the Ligue 1 winger Jeremy documentary, reveals Calciomercato. While the 20-year-old has been on the radar of the San Siro hierarchy for some time, they are waiting to see how he fares for Rennes this season. Doku contributed to three goals when Belgium beat Belarus 8-0 in March but has spent most of his games on the bench since then.

– After ESPN reported that Nice was interested Maurice Pochettino to take over the vacant chief post on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph says the Argentina manager is not interested in returning to management at the Ligue 1 club. The former Tottenham Hotspur manager has been a free agent since parting ways with Paris Saint-Germain in July.

– Former Lille midfielder Xeka will reportedly sign with Rennes by 2024 Nicol Shira. Xeka has been a free agent since his contract with the Ligue 1 club expired in the summer but it looks like he will remain in the top flight following the deal with France Les Rennais. Reports previously suggested the 27-year-old was offered to Arsenal.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-transfer-talk/story/4751174/live-transfer-talk-chelsea-interested-in-rafael-leao-as-he-eyes-ac-milan-pay-rise Chelsea are interested in Rafael Leao as he eyes AC Milan pay rise

Emma Bowman

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