Sky: Potential solution emerges in Leao renewal talks that could please everyone

By Oliver Fisher -

There could be a compromise reached between Rafael Leao and AC Milan regarding the renewal of his contract, according to a report.

Yesterday the declarations of the sporting director Ricky Massara and the words of Leao himself suggested that absolutely nothing has been decided regarding the extension of the Portuguese winger’s deal, which means the uncertainty grows.

According to Sky (via MilanLive) however, an agreement could be found  that would make everyone happy, at least on paper. Leao – out of gratitude and affection towards Milan – would be willing to renew his contract and extend the expiry until at least 2026.

However, with that would come the security that he is sold to the highest bidder next summer. Milan would be sure of being able to  negotiate the sale on their terms and could ask for an amount commensurate with his value (€120m at least), gaining important leverage, while Leao could move on if he wishes to.

Without an agreement over a renewal, Milan would not only be forced to sell Leao this summer to avoid losing him on a free in 2024, but they would also have to settle for offers well below the real market value of the former Lille man.

One of the issues – which has created a rift between Milan and Leao’s agents – is the fine owed to Sporting CP. The Rossoneri believe they have nothing to do with it but Jordge Mendes made it clear that the club should have increased the offer to contribute towards paying it, which Maldini and Massara don’t agree with.

Mendes’ idea is therefore to obtain a much higher signing bonus elsewhere, perhaps in the Premier League, which would facilitate the payment of the fine to Sporting.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao


  1. I don’t understand how they can force Leao to pay the fee but not force Lille to pay for signing a player who wasn’t out of contract yet. The first should first come out of Lille’s profit of €29.5m they made selling him to Milan.

  2. Yep. I knew the signing bonus was going to be their strategy to cover the Sporting fee. At the same time, if his value is ~120m, why not just pay his half of the fine (~9.5m) in its entirety so that he signs our 5 year offer and then recoup that in 2-3 years when we have to sell again anyway? Assuming his value stays the same or keeps going up the expense would be a drop in the bucket compared to what a sale will bring in.

    1. What if the value doesn’t go up or doesn’t even stay the same?
      The moment Leao puts pen to paper on a 7+mil a year contract, everything changes.
      None of that ‘Oh he is still young ‘ will be tolerated anymore.
      The pressure, expectations and criticism will skyrocket, not just from media but the club itself.
      The management, coaches, teammates will demand production every game.
      If he doesn’t perform up to the value of his salary than you won’t be able to sell him, because the teams that can pay his 7mil salary most likely won’t be interested in him anymore, and the teams that would be interested in him can’t pay him 7 mil a year.
      At that point he is Aaron Ramsey, Rabiot, Khedira, players that Juventus have to pay just so they can leave because no one wanted them on their bad contracts.
      Milan ownership was absolutely right on the 2 players that demanded similar or higher salary than Leao. Gigio and Kessie were not worth the salary they demanded and that is proven every day.
      Hopefully Leao doesn’t leave for free Luke those guys did

      1. All very good points, and probably why M&M haven’t just given into the demands of players like Donnarumma and Kessie. The club can I’ll afford a 7 or 8m deadweight. Lots of people don’t understand this. It’s usually the way I would see it, but I guess I was trying to be optimistic for once.

  3. Erm, that article doesn’t make any sense – of course the signing bonus is going to lead him elsewhere. I mean that’s basically been the whole negotiating strategy all along – I don’t think there’s really any willingness to sign here at all.

    1. I should add that he may well also be advised not to sign anywhere in the summer, so his value is at its highest by being a free agent. Either he could agree for Milan to sell him this summer for, say, 50-60m, or he can demand 20-30m signing/loyalty bonus from an English club by waiting a year.

  4. I think Leao is our most decisive player and I do wish he would stay. Having said that, I think he is no longer the irreplaceable player he used to be, and it doesn’t have anything to do with his talent but with our shift to a three man defence. Leao the LW in the 4-2-3-1, the mvp of the last season, that player was irreplaceable. Leao the second striker in a 3-5-2-ish is a much more replaceable player; he is far less decisive in that position and the stats show it, despite he has not been playing bad lately. I’ve always believed that the right solution if Leao were to leave was not a nominal replacement because with our budget and business model that was unfeasible, plus it’s not like you can find players like Leao anywhere, but rather a shift in our system that allowed us to remain competitive without a player like him, and in that sense I feel that if there has ever been a moment to sell Leao and invest that budget to remain a highly competitive team with ambitions, it is now, sticking to our main current formation for the next season(s) and building a team that better suits our new tactical needs.

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