Chelsea ‘lead race’ to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao

Rafael Leao struck twice for AC Milan at the San Siro (Luca Bruno/AP) (AP)
Rafael Leao struck twice for AC Milan at the San Siro (Luca Bruno/AP) (AP)

What the papers say

Chelsea are understood to be hoping it will be second-time lucky in their pursuit of AC Milan’s Rafael Leao. The club were among those to have informal offers for the Portugal winger rejected over summer. But the Star, which refers to reporting by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, says the Blues are currently leading the pack to sign the 23-year-old, whose contract at San Siro ends in 2024.

Five straight Premier League losses have Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis reportedly considering a change in the dugout. The Greek media mogul is weighing up sacking manager Steve Cooper along with Forest executive Dane Murphy and his recruitment staff, according to the Mail. The club are bottom of the league and reeling after Monday night’s 4-0 loss to Leicester. The Guardian says Forest are interested in ex-Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez or former Burnley manager Sean Dyche as potential replacements.

Cristiano Ronaldo may not be allowed to leave Old Trafford in January. The Mirror says Manchester United want to keep the 37-year-old until his contract ends next summer because they need cover at forward, where the injury-prone Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both play.

A permanent Merseyside move could be on the cards for Conor Coady. Everton want to exercise an option to turn the 29-year-old England defender’s loan  from Wolves into a full-on transfer, reports the Times, which adds the associated fee is expected to be less than £10million.

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Players to watch

Donny van de Beek: Fichajes reports Inter Milan may try to sign Manchester United’s Dutch midfielder, 25, in January.

Leandro Trossard: The 27-year-old Belgium winger has opted against dismissing speculation linking him with a departure from Brighton for Arsenal or Chelsea, says the Mail.