18 G/A winger’s Chelsea transfer almost dead despite previous interest in €80m move

Rafael Leao, a player Chelsea have been linked with countless times before and came close to buying on a number of occasions, is close to a move from AC Milan to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, O Jogo are reporting.

The 25 year old winger won the title with Milan two years ago, but their decline since has left him wanting more, and the insane money he can get paid in the Middle East is clearly tempting him.

This piece says that the winger’s agent Jorge Mendes has offered him to some of Europe’s big clubs without success, and will now facilitate a Saudi move.

Even in a poor year for Milan, Leao racked up 10 assists at 8 goals in 33 starts, and showed plenty of his talent. He also looks set for an important role at the Euros for Portugal this summer. But all indications are that Chelsea have moved on from serious interest in signing him.

STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA, MILAN, ITALY – 2022/10/11: Rafael Leao of AC Milan in action during the UEFA Champions League football match between AC Milan and Chelsea FC. Chelsea FC won 2-0 over AC Milan. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Chelsea’s doubts may have been proven right

Leao has ridiculous skill, both in running with the ball and striking it. He also has awesome physical tools, with great speed and size at his disposal.

Yet for all that, he’s hardly been tearing Serie A up. Every few weeks he shows a flash of his immense ability, but he doesn’t deliver consistently enough for club or country.

It feels like the right coach and the right environment could take him to the next level and really make him a world star – but that’s hardly going to happen in Saudi Arabia. It will be disappointed to see so much potential wasted there, but we’re not convinced he was even going to be a good fit for us anyway – and we’re glad Chelsea didn’t spend €80m on him a couple of years ago when it felt like that was very possible.

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