According to reports from Spain, Liverpool and Real Madrid could go head-to-head in the race to sign an attacker who might yield a nine-figure transfer fee.
Fichajes have claimed that the two European giants are looking at a potential move for Rafael Leao, who’s impressed scouts from Merseyside and the Spanish capital ‘due to his versatility, speed and ability to score goals’.
The AC Milan attacker is believed to be open to joining either club because of their ‘magnitude and prestige’, although the Rossoneri are set to demand at least €150m (£130m) as they consider the 24-year-old ‘a fundamental piece in their project’.
Leao – who earns just over £105k per week (Capology) – has an impressive track record in Italy, with 40 goals and 30 assists in 134 Serie A appearances, registering four goal contributions across his last three league games (Transfermarkt).
Although he and his Milan teammates were frustrated by Newcastle in the Champions League in midweek, he made life difficult for Eddie Howe’s side by winning a team-high eight duels, completing three dribbles, taking two shots and creating one ‘big chance’ (Sofascore).
The 6 foot 3 winger can certainly be a handful for opposition defences, and he boasts the ability to play anywhere across the forward line (Transfermarkt), thus affording tremendous tactical flexibility to any coach who works with him.
While Leao certainly seems an exciting talent, we’d be inclined not to get too carried away by the reports from Spain.
Liverpool are already well stocked in attack, with other parts of the squad likely to be given greater priority in January, and it might be hard to envisage the Reds spending £130m on him when taking that into account.
Nonetheless, it’ll be intriguing to see if anything further develops in this regard throughout the autumn, and whether the Portuguese forward can continue his recent fine form at the San Siro.