Italian media analyse Rafael Leao’s recent struggles at Milan and Gazzetta suggests the Rossoneri should sell the Portuguese forward in the summer, signing a new centre forward.
Leao was named the Best Serie A player for 2021-22 following Milan’s first Scudetto in 11 years.
However, he’s been unable to replicate the same level of performance this season, especially in the new year.
The 23-year-old seems to struggle with Stefano Pioli’s new 3-4-1-2 system and hasn’t scored in the last 10 matches across all competitions.
His current contract expires in June 2024 but even if talks with the Rossoneri have been ongoing for several months, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.
La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Alessandro Vocalelli questions whether Leao’s extension should really be Milan’s priority.
“Leo is undoubtedly a great player. Ups and downs are difficult to accept, but his class and physicality belong to superior players,” the journalist wrote in his latest column for the pink paper.
“That’s why Milan have been in talks for his contract extension for a long time. Many millions to keep him at the club for more years to come. But is this Milan’s main urgency?
“My personal feeling is that Milan risk losing sight of objective reality by insisting on this tug of war.
“Wouldn’t it be better to drop Leao, sell him for a high offer, save money on his salary, and buy a new centre forward?
“The personal feeling is that Leao is very strong, but perhaps replaceable to complete a backbone that in football literature ends with a centre forward.
“In the future of this team, there must be a centre forward who lives up to the great Rossoneri tradition.”
Milan currently have three centre forwards under contract plus Ante Rebic who can also play as a support striker. However, the deals of Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic expire at the end of the season while Origi has only scored two goals in 24 appearances for the Rossoneri this term.