Zlatan Ibrahimovic Begs Rafael Leao to Stay Put at AC Milan Amid Interest From Arsenal, Chelsea

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Begs Rafael Leao to Stay Put at AC Milan Amid Interest From Arsenal, Chelsea

Martin Moses
February 28, 2023 at 11:45 AM
  • Rafael Leao could be on his way out of AC Milan soon, with his contract expiring next year
  • A lot of clubs have registered interest in the winger who lit up the Serie A last season
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic, however, wants Leao to pledge his long-term future to Milan

If you take one quick glance at Rafael Leao, you will get the feeling that he won't be at AC Milan for a long time.

Not that AC Milan isn't a top club. Heck, they have seven Champions League titles to their name. But they have lost their aura of in recent years.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Rafael Leao
Zlatan Ibrahimovic applauds Rafael Leao on April 15th 2022. Photo by Jonathan Moscrop
Source: Getty Images

After winning the Scudetto last season, Leao would be willing to move on to another league. And with his magical right foot, he could have a lot of suitors.

However, veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to pull out all stops to ensure that the Portuguese international remains in Milan. Leao has not publicly admitted or shown that he intends to quit, but where there is smoke, there is always fire.

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Arsenal interest

As Dean Jones of GMS reports, Arsenal are among the clubs that have reportedly shown interest in snapping up the 23-year-old, whose contract expires in 2024.

Milan has in the past shown an unwillingness to break the bank for their top players, which explains the departures of Hakan Calhanoglu, Franck Kessie and Gianluigi Donnarumma, among others.

Ibrahimovic has joked that he has already reduced his salary for Leao and would be willing to surrender his house as well.

"I lowered my salary for him; I’m playing for free. Does he also want my house?” quipped the Swede striker, as quoted by HITC.

Where does Leao fit in the Arsenal team?

On paper, Leao moving to Arsenal won't make much sense. The Gunners recently acquired Leandro Trossard from Brighton, who likes to play from the same wing as Leao. Trossard found Gabriel Martinelli at the club, who has made the left wing his own as Mikel Arteta's side chase the title.

Emile Smith-Rowe can also play as a left winger, and adding Leao would be having too many players in one position. Bukayo Saka, meanwhile, has no tangible competition on the right side.

A move to Tottenham realistically makes sense, with the club reportedly looking post-Heung-min Son.

Ibrahimovic fires warning to Serie A rivals

Sports Brief had earlier reported that Ibrahimovic has vowed to turn the fortunes of AC Milan around once he returns from injury.

Ibrahimovic was forced into a long layoff last year and underwent knee surgery after damaging his ligaments and has been absent for close to nine months.

In his absence this year, the Rossoneri have struggled to keep up with the rigours of Italian football.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
English Premier League - EPLItalian Serie AZlatan Ibrahimović