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PSG ‘chasing Chelsea target Rafael Leao’ as club identify Leo Messi replacement

PSG will look to compete with Chelsea for AC Milan star Rafael Leao, while the Parisians look for attacking substitutes for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, both of whom could leave the club in the summer.

Leao was one of Milan’s standout players in the 21/22 campaign in which he won the title and has played eight of his nine league games in LaLiga this season, with coach Stefano Pioli keen to keep the attacker .

The 23-year-old is wanted by a host of European top clubs, with Chelsea keen to bring more dynamism to his attack, which has lacked versatility this season.

But Chelsea’s chase now faces a new challenge after PSG entered the race for Leo’s signature with big spenders as the French champions aim for another summer of huge spenders, according to Tuttosport.

The Portuguese winger’s current contract expires in 2024 but Milan bosses have already started fresh talks with agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents Cristiano Ronaldo, over a new deal.

Milan would reportedly not be willing to let Leao go unless his £131m release clause is met, a fee that could scupper transfer plans for most teams bar PSG, who meet the required clause could.

Coach Christophe Galtier sees Leao as the ideal replacement for Messi as the Argentine is expected to return to youth club Barcelona at the end of the season after two years in France.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter will take a closer look at Leao when Milan host Chelsea at the San Siro stadium on Tuesday night in the Champions League.

The visitors beat the Italian side as the two sides met in the second leg at Stamford Bridge as Wesley Fofana, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James all scored without reply. Leao was on the hook in the second half.

Chelsea will be wary of entering another summer of transfer battles after being beaten to a host of targets including Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski in the last window.

The Ligue 1 giants are also still interested in Inter Milan defender Martin Skrniar, having previously agreed personal terms with the defender.

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