Some rather interesting words arrived from Paolo Maldini last night regarding the future of Rafael Leao, which still remains an enigma at the moment.
Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) brands Rafael Leao as a world-class player that is matched by only Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and a few others when he gets his head down and starts one of his electrifying dribbles.
Against Dinamo Zagreb he won the penalty kick that opened the scoring as Olivier Giroud bagged from 12 yards again, and then he set up Alexis Saelemaekers with a pinpoint cross to make it 2-0, showing he can do it on the biggest stage.
However, the words of Maldini before the game have drawn some attention as he revealed some background on the summer window and spoke about the future of Leao.
“An official written offer from Chelsea did not arrive, but on an informal level it did. Of course it was rejected. Rafa knows that to become stronger the solution is to stay. We are a young and growing team, they still have to learn many things. If they reach a level higher than that of Milan then I think it is also normal to take flight. But we intend to do great things and grow with him,” he said.
“Renewal? It is a question that we have already addressed many months ago. Is Rafa non-transferable? Yes, for me he would be but it is useless to be romantic. When certain figures arrive there are no non-transferable players. We have been talking with him for some time, also Bennacer and Kalulu. Each renewal can be more complicated or easier. The will of the player goes a long way, that of the club is there.”
The informal offer Maldini talks about is the result of the work of agent Jorge Mendes, who spoke a lot with Chelsea at the end of August, and the part where he admits he could leave is of course motivated by the awareness of not being able to match any offers coming from the Premier League.
The January transfer market will be very important to understand what the future of Leao is, because Maldini is betting heavily on the player’s desire to stay at the club.