Milan, the sale of Leao is inevitable. Maldini cannot afford another farewell on a free transfer | First page

AC Milan’s first defeat of the season coincided with Rafael Leao’s first absence. That said, it seems that there is an ineluctable causal relationship, but the reality is that Pioli’s team against Napoli played a good game despite the Portuguese player’s disqualification. In the offensive phase Giroud and his teammates created numerous scoring chances, but there were too many mistakes in the goal area. There is no counter-proof that with Leao the Milan attack would have been more resolute and incisive, but certainly the former Lille in the last year he was the player who most of all took part in the Rossoneri’s attacking game. Just look at the latest games, including assists, goals and through balls that kicked off the goal, Leao’s involvement is close to 100% of the chances.

Certainly the real strength of Pioli’s team is the collective and the overall participation of all the components, but equally certainly there are two / three elements that with their peculiarities are decisive for winning games. Among these Leao is more than all. Or at least it is evidently so in the Italian league. Instead in Europe the Portuguese has yet to find the real consecration. For the moment it has stopped on that crossbar hit after the spectacular overhead kick at San Siro against Atletico Madrid. To become a real international star Leao, still very young, must play in important Champions League matches or, this year, he also has the opportunity to show off his qualities during the World Cup in Qatar.

Champions League and World Championship are a great showcase for the winger, but also a great threat to Milan. In fact, Leao will hardly find an agreement with Maldini for the extension of the contract in the coming weeks. And time, unfortunately, does not play in favor of the Rossoneri club’s interests. Leao currently receives a salary of 1.5 million per season and her contract expires on June 30, 2024. This means that during the next market session Leao will be almost a year from being able to leave on a free transfer. Times begin to shorten dangerously, especially for a company that in recent years has lost three very owners without any financial compensation.

Losing Donnarumma, Calhanoglu and Kessié to zero, AC Milan received significant financial damage. But with Leao on a free transfer, the economic loss would be much greater. In fact, we take into account that currently the Portuguese managed by Gestifute has a release clause of € 150 million. An insane figure, which, however, can make sense for a crack far from the expiration of the contract. Less for someone who in less than two years can sign with anyone without any restrictions. Jorge Mendes knows this dynamic very well and for this reason he is in no hurry to sign a renewal with Milan, even if we are talking about a salary that has more than quadrupled. Mendes knows that potentially, on a free or almost zero free transfer, Leao could win a princely engagement in numerous European clubs.

From the City where there is Guardiola who publicly praised him to Chelsea who sought him this summer, to finish with PSG where there are Campos and Galtier who launched him in Lille. Three non-random destinations, which, unfortunately, constitute a very different stage from that of the Italian championship. For this reason the negotiation with Milan for the renewal promises to be very complicated. Especially if in the next few months Leao should also reach an international consecration. Maldini has dispensed tranquility, but he is the same one who did not break down when he lost the three aforementioned on a free transfer. After all, it doesn’t depend on him, but on who has to make ends meet. It’s clear that this Milan cannot afford to give anyone 7-zero salaries and that it cannot even bear the compensation for the fine that UEFA imposed on the striker a few years ago. A figure that is close to 20 million, what Leao would like as a sort of “bonus” to signing.

In short, yet another problematic condition of a contract renewal that promises to be complicated and that could become even more so in the coming months. The Milan fans have already entered into the perspective that, sooner than later, they will have to accept the departure of the Portuguese. And the only way the company doesn’t have another huge asset loss is to sell it in the next summer market session. Maybe the clause will not reach 150 million, but it won’t be a free transfer either. And, having to accept the fact that this will probably be the last year in which we can enjoy Portuguese, it would be an impressive tonic for AC Milan. So, renewal or non-renewal, the sale of Leao in the next 10 months becomes essential and cannot be postponed. Unfortunately.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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