Manchester United and Chelsea dealt huge blow in pursuit of 'new Thierry Henry': report

 Erik ten Hag and Todd Boehly
Erik ten Hag and Todd Boehly

Manchester United and Chelsea target Rafael Leao has signed a new five-year deal with AC Milan, meaning he won't be available for a transfer in the upcoming summer window.

Compared to Thierry Henry in the past for his leggy dribbling style, stature and right-footed and penchant for cutting in on the left flank, Leao has caught the attention of Europe's elite in recent seasons with his displays in both Serie A and, more recently, the Champions League.

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English sides such as Manchester United, Chelsea and even Manchester City were all linked with the 23-year-old, while Real Madrid reportedly held an interest in him, too.

His most recent deal at AC Milan was due to expire in June 2024, but Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport have revealed that the Portuguese winger has committed his future to the Italian side.

Since joining Milan from Lille in August 2018, Leao has shown remarkable progress. Last season he helped his side win the Scudetto for the first time since 2011 with 11 goals and eight assists, while this season his performances have seen Milan reach the Champions League semi-finals.

AC Milan face Inter Milan in a huge derby tie, but Leao is a doubt for the first leg after picking up an injury last weekend against Lazio.


Speaking on Tuesday during his pre-match press conference, AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli admitted his concern for his star player's fitness.

“Today he [Leão] trained, tomorrow I will decide what to do,” Pioli said

“I’m going to bed quietly tonight, anyway in the morning Rafa and the doctor will tell me his condition. If he is well he will be called up, otherwise not. If the test is clean he can play. If it is not clean he cannot play – either from the start or the end. I would have preferred to do it today, but it was not possible.”