One of the major obstacles hindering Rafael Leao’s potential contract renewal with AC Milan has been removed, drastically increasing the Rossoneri’s chances of keeping the Portuguese attacker.
The player and the club have been in talks for many months about extending his deal which runs out in June 2024. The talks have been in the midst of serious interest from wealthy clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
A serious issue relating to Leao’s departure from Sporting CP has been one of the reasons that discussions have taken so long.
Leao’s complex contract talks
Beyond the obvious factors of ensuring that Milan can match his ambition and pay him a wage that reflects his superb quality, Milan have been battling the legal issues surrounding Leao’s departure from Sporting to Lille in 2018.
Leao unilaterally terminated his contract with the Portuguese side when a number of players were attacked at the training ground by fans who were unhappy with the performance of the team who had failed to qualify for the Champions League. He then signed for Ligue 1 side Lille on a free transfer, which is who Milan brought him from.
Sporting then sued Lille and Leao for €19.5 million in damages. Leao and his agents have wanted Milan to be a part of that payment to Sporting, but according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, they have now agreed that Milan will not be a part of that process.
Two obstacles remain for Leao extension
It is still not necessarily plain sailing for Milan now to retain Leao. The club fears that agents’ fees could be extortionate on any extension as Leao is officially represented by Ted Dimvula, but Jorge Mendes still has involvement with Leao. There is also Leao’s father on the scene who acts like another agent, so the commission fees could add up quickly with so many moving parts.
As for the wages themselves, Milan now appear willing to pay the 23-year-old a salary of €7-7.5 million, a major increase on the €1.5 million that he currently earns. That could be enough to satisfy the player.
Beyond the agents’ fees, the other obstacle is the release clause. It currently stands at €150 million and Milan would like to either keep it the same or get rid of it altogether. Mendes on the other hand, would like it to be lowered so that Leao has a more simple way out of the club should another club come knocking in the near future.
New talks are expected in Milan with Dimvula at the start of next week.