• Transfers

Official: AC Milan announce capture of Rafael Leao

Getty Images

AC Milan have announced their capture of highly-rated star Rafael Leao from Lille OSC on a five-year deal.

After leaving boyhood club Sporting Lisbon last summer, Leao enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with Lille that captured interest from all around Europe.

The 20-year-old forward struck eight goals and added two assists in his 24 appearances to help Lille finish a solid second-place in Ligue 1. He even developed a strong partnership with Nicolas Pepe, where he often opened up space for the Ivorian to attack.

Leao’s rapid progress at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy saw Observers in France dub him as the “Portuguese Kylian Mbappe”.

Therefore, reports had heavily tipped the in-demand striker for a big-money move away from Lille this summer. Premier League side Everton were allegedly keen on signing him but ultimately didn’t bid for his services.

But, on Wednesday, Leao’s future received an unexpected twist when he arrived at Milan’s La Madonnina clinic to undergo medical tests.

Upon a successful medical, Milan confirmed on Thursday afternoon they had signed the Portugal U-21 international on a five-year contract.

“AC Milan is delighted to announce an agreement with Lille OSC for Portuguese forward Rafael Leao. The 20-year-old attacker joins the Rossoneri on a five-year deal,” read a club statement.

While they didn’t state a transfer fee, Milan will reportedly pay Lille €30m plus bonuses.

The U-17 European champion will likely replace Patrick Cutrone, who completed an €18m transfer from Milan to Wolves in the Premier League.

Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo could throw Leao straight into the line-up for Saturday’s International Champions Cup clash with Manchester United on Saturday.