Chelsea's 2022-23 Premier League fixtures
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Chelsea could be set to dip into the Serie A market once again after striking a full agreement to land Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to reports. The latter is widely expected to join the Blues over the coming days to become their second new arrival of the summer, with Raheem Sterling already having thrashed out the formalities of his permanent move from Manchester City.
Koulibaly is reportedly set to undergo a medical in London on Thursday before signing his contract at Chelsea, where he is likely to start in defence on a regular basis when the new season gets underway. New owner Todd Boehly is already working hard to add further reinforcements, though, and may even decide to return to Italy in order to address the club’s need for a new first-choice striker in the near future.
Rafael Leao is the player in question after turning plenty of heads with his prolific form at AC Milan over the course of the previous campaign, according to Corriere della Sera. The Portuguese forward scored 14 goals in all competitions as Milan clinched their first Serie A title for 11 years and is thought to have cropped up on Chelsea’s radar in their search to replace Romelu Lukaku at the top of the pitch next season.
Leao is already in talks with Milan to extend his current deal at the San Siro, which is poised to expire in the summer of 2024 as things stand. However, an agreement is yet to be reached and Chelsea are said to have capitalised on the situation by making contact to establish the likelihood of a move for his services.
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Milan are in no mood to let go of their star striker, though, and are thought to be refusing to entertain Chelsea’s advances at this stage. It remains to be seen whether the Blues will be able to swing proceedings in their favour over the coming weeks in order to finally strengthen their attacking ranks after the departure of Lukaku, who rejoined Inter Milan on a temporary basis last month.
The likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United have previously been credited with a desire to sign Leao, who joined Milan from Lille for a transfer fee in the region of £27million back in 2019. He has already suggested that he is more than happy in his current surroundings, though, when quizzed directly on his immediate future towards the end of last season.
“I’m at Milan, I have another two years on my contract,” Leao told reporters. “Untouchable? I’m happy with these words. I feel at home, but at the moment my focus is on the national team.
“I am very happy, but my feet are firmly on the ground. It is a pride to work with highly experienced players. As for my evolution, I left young Sporting CP and went to Lille. People may not know this, but Ligue 1 is a strong league.
“I have evolved, then an important step for Milan. The first two years did not go as I would have liked, but now I am more mature and confident, the season has gone as I wanted. I hope to do great things in the future.”
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