Rafael Leao is expected to be in high demand
Rafael Leao should turn down a transfer away from Milan, with former Rossoneri player and head coach Filippo Inzaghi fearing he would just be “one of many” at Manchester City or Real Madrid.
The Portugal international was integral to Milan’s Serie A title success last year, and has continued to perform well for them this season.
That has seen Leao linked with a move to one of Milan’s heavyweight rivals across Europe, with Chelsea also among those thought to be chasing him.
With only 18 months left on his deal, reports have suggested Leao could move in January, but Inzaghi has implored the 23-year-old to stay, suggesting he can be one of their all-time greats.
“If I were him, I would stay,” he told Corriere della Sera. “For me, Milan has always been the best. To wear that shirt, to play at San Siro.
“A few years ago, maybe you could think about aspiring to something more prestigious. But now they [have] won the Scudetto, they [are] in the Champions League.
“Leao is strong, but he can be even stronger. I hope he will be convinced [to remain]. Here, he can be a protagonist, at the centre of the project.
“The risk is that at City or Real, he will then end up being one of many. I would tell him to become a flag-bearer for Milan, something unique.”
Milan have laboured in their title defence this term, and head into 2023 with an eight-point gap to leaders Napoli, who look at risk of romping away to the Scudetto.
Inzaghi still thinks Stefano Pioli’s side have what it takes to turn things around and make it a battle at home and in Europe, where they have a Champions League last-16 tie with Tottenham to look forward to.
“Milan have a great coach,” he added. “They know well what to do. Clearly Napoli has travelled at double speed, but I am convinced the Rossoneri have everything to recover.”