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How Nkunku transfer affects Chelsea’s move for Rafa Leao



This weekend it was unanimously reported that Chelsea have completed the signing of Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku, and the deal will have a knock-on effect on Rafa Leao.

Nkunku was one of the most wanted men this past summer, with Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle, AC Milan and PSG all following the French attacker.

The 25-year-old ended up signing a new contract with Leipzig that would tie him to the club until 2026.

However, that new contract only delayed the inevitable of Nkunku joining a big club. Nkunku will officially join Chelsea from July 1, 2023.

He has a release clause in his Leipzig contract of €60 million, which will be valid starting from the summer of 2023. It is expected that Chelsea will pay around this amount.

But while Chelsea fans rejoice in signing one of the best attacking players in Europe, the deal for Nkunku will likely result in the end of their pursuit for Rafa Leao.

According to Mediaset, Chelsea will no longer try to sign Leao for two main reasons.

The first is a financial one. Leao will cost well over €100m, perhaps as much as €120m. Having already invested so much in Nkunku, doing a deal for Leao also will be extremely expensive given not only his transfer fee but his salary demands of over €7m per season.

The second reason, related to the first, is that Chelsea are not keen on spending so much on a player whose role and characteristics are similar to Nkunku.

Leao’s best role is from the left of the attack, but he can also play centrally. While Nkunku is even more tactically versatile, the pair are not too dissimilar.

Leao’s contract at Milan expires in 2024 and the Rossoneri have been in negotiations to extend the deal for a number of months now.

They had hoped to extend his contract before the World Cup but failed to do so. Time is running out for Milan to convince Leao to sign a new deal – leaving open the possibility that the Portuguese star will leave in 2023

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