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HomePremier LeagueChelsea earmark 23-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo teammate as a fall-back option

Chelsea earmark 23-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo teammate as a fall-back option

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Chelsea's list of attacking targets for the summer appears to be growing by the week. 

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Chelsea earmark 23-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo teammate as a fall-back option

According to Simon Phillips of The Score WWIA (via (h/t football.london), Chelsea have chosen AC Milan player and Cristiano Ronaldo national team compatriot Rafael Leao as their backup choice if deals for other attackers fall through.

Chelsea’s list of attacking targets for the summer appears to be growing by the week. 

AC Milan winger Rafael Leao might emerge as a significant alternative for Thomas Tuchel’s side if any of their current chases fail.

Leao played a key role in AC Milan’s Serie A title-winning season last season, scoring 14 goals and giving 12 assists in 42 games across all competitions.

Chelsea is presently prioritising Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, and an agreement to sign the England international is likely soon. 

Tuchel is reportedly pushing for Sterling’s signing, and the 27-year-old is eager to transfer to West London.

Leao played a key role in AC Milan’s Serie A title-winning season last season, scoring 14 goals and giving 12 assists in 42 games across all competitions.

Hakim Ziyech is on his way to AC Milan on loan, but the Blues haven’t asked for anything in return – though one would be due, given that Chelsea traded Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud to the Italian champions last year. 

For Milan, Tomori has been a rock at the back, while Giroud has 11 league goals.

Despite the solid business ties between the two clubs, any deal for Leao will not be cheap. 

Leao has won nine caps for Portugal since making his senior international debut in October of last year.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Leao’s compatriot and national team captain, has also been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge this summer. 

However, it is exceedingly doubtful that both players will wind up at Chelsea together at this stage.

Should Chelsea pursue Leao? 

Chelsea has so much going on that it seems premature to think about Plan B. If Sterling shows up, which appears to be a matter of time, where does Leao fit in?

He can play centrally, but Chelsea has Kai Havertz to fill that role. With the World Cup on the horizon, switching to one of the world’s hardest leagues, where many great players are known to struggle, appears to be a risk on Leao’s part.

Without a question, Leao is a wonderful player, one of Europe’s most promising young prospects right now, but it’s difficult to see where he will fit in once Sterling arrives.

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