CM: Milan to keep hold of forward and build around him unless offer of €40m arrives

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan intend to put their faith in forward Rafael Leao despite a difficult first season at the club so far, according to a report.

As Calciomercato.com notes, Leao has had a rollercoaster of a campaign since his arrival from Lille last summer. He amassed just 15 minutes of action in the first three league games before impressing in the derby and starting four of the next five games, where he also scored a gorgeous goal against Fiorentina.

The real step up never came though, and in December – after the heavy 5-0 defeat to Atalanta – he was seen in a disco while smoking a cigarette and drinking alcohol.

It appeared Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be the man to get the best out of him, with the Portuguese starlet repeatedly describing his new team-mate as a “big brother” and with the pair clearly sharing a bond off the pitch.

However, only one goal arrived (in Cagliari) before Leao lost his place because of the explosion of Rebic. Then at the beginning of March, Boban – his greatest admirer – was sacked. In the middle of the month a statement came from the Portuguese government agency, which obliges him to pay Sporting Lisbon €16.5million in compensation.

The report adds though that Milan’s thoughts do not change, as there is no willingness to sell him (except for offers of at least €40million). The club will focus on him and considers him the ideal profile: young and talented with a low salary (less than €2m-a-year) but a change is needed, so now the ball is firmly in the court of the player.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao