AC Milan strike back at 'harmful' Rafael Leao report that suggests 'rupture' in contract negotiations
- Leao in constant transfer rumours
- Report says contract talks have stalled
- AC Milan furious at publication
WHAT HAPPENED? After La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested Leao could leave AC Milan amid a frosty relationship with the Serie A club, an official club statement called the newspaper's journalism practices into question.
WHAT THEY SAID: "With regard to the article published today by the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport entitled: 'Leao Milan total rupture', AC Milan would like to clarify that the negotiations with Rafael Leao have not been interrupted," wrote the club in a statement posted to Twitter.
"The suggestion of an alleged frost between the parties is not only totally unfounded but also harmful to the club and its player. In fact, AC Milan continues the dialogue with Leao and his entourage in a serene and professional way."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: AC Milan, currently fifth in Serie A and on a poor run of form, are desperate to keep their biggest star. Leao has been involved in 34 league goals (19 scored, 15 assisted) since the start of last season, and has been drawing attention from Europe's biggest clubs for some time. The Rossoneri are sensitive, then, to anything that might unsettle their Portuguese forward.
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WHAT NEXT FOR LEAO? His current contract expires next year, so there's urgency from Milan to agree a new deal before the summer, when teams will try to pressure them into selling him below market value with free agency looming.