According to a report from The Mirror, Manchester United have put AC Milan winger Rafael Leao on their “shortlist” as a potential alternative in the event that they are unable to sign PSV winger Cody Gakpo in the upcoming month.
During the summer of 2022, there was speculation that Manchester United could make a move for Gakpo. However, the club ultimately decided to acquire Antony from Ajax. Despite this, United’s interest in Gakpo has not waned, and the fact that he has been putting in great performances at the ongoing FIFA World Cup has only served to strengthen the speculations that surround a possible transfer to Manchester United.
Despite this, there is a lot of competition for the Dutch player’s signing, as a number of clubs are monitoring his situation. Arsenal, Gakpo’s team’s Premier League rival, has also emerged as a major candidate to recruit him, as the team’s striker Gabriel Jesus is reportedly going to be out for three months.
Gakpo’s value reportedly doubled from £25 million in the summer to £50 million after he scored three goals at the World Cup, as reported by the Mirror. Gakpo’s value was previously reported to be around £25 million.
According to the report in the newspaper, there is a good probability that United won’t be able to sign Gakpo, and as a result, the club has reportedly selected Leao as a player who may be a potential target. This is the Portuguese winger’s first season at Milan, and he has already made 20 appearances for the club. In those 20 games, he has scored seven goals and assisted on nine others for Milan.
Chelsea is also interested in acquiring Leao, and journalist Carlo Garnaghese has reported that the Blues are “still in communication” with AC Milan regarding a prospective move for the 23-year-old player. Leao is now being pursued by a number of clubs, including Chelsea. Even though there are only 18 months left on the contract he is now signed to, Italian media outlets (via Sportwitness) are claiming that Leao’s market value has been established at a staggering 87 million pounds.
Because Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer playing for the club, Erik ten Hag has demonstrated that they are in desperate need of an attacker. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the Dutch strategist has his sights set on players such as Gakpo and Leao.
Gakpo would be the best potential transfer for United considering his price tag and the fact that he can play everywhere across the frontline. United are in need of goals, and Gakpo would be the finest possible transfer for United. However, given the intense level of rivalry for his signature, it makes perfect sense for the Manchester club to consider exploring other possibilities in addition to pursuing this one.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Leao is a cutting-edge, explosive attacker who has the potential to thrive in ten Hag’s environment. However, because to the high price tag associated with his services, it will be challenging for the club to reach an agreement with AC Milan.