Manchester City have accelerated their interest in one of Portugal’s hottest young talents, Rafael Leão, after he joined a growing number of Sporting CP players to rescind their contracts.
Sporting are in crisis with players leaving the club one by one after they were attacked by thugs at the training ground, and high-value internationals such as William Carvalho, Gelson Martins and Rui Patricio – who has joined Wolves – have walked out on the club.
For City, Leão’s departure gives them an opportunity to grab one of Europe’s most exciting upcoming talents on the cheap – but not necessarily for free like they could.
According to Jornal de Notícias, the Blues have entered informal discussions to sign 18-year-old Leão, but to avoid potential legal action from Sporting, may be willing to hand over a ‘goodwill’ fee to the struggling Portuguese giants.
City would not pay anything close to the €45million that represented his release clause, but doing what others are not and compensating Sporting, would follow a past trend of City handing over money when they didn’t have to in order to maintain good relationships with clubs.
Despite reports that Sporting’s rivals Benfica had a pre-agreement with Leão, his agent dismissed those stories.
“We have not received an offer from Benfica, there are not even talks with the club. Zero!” Nelson Almeida told the Record newspaper.
City may not be the only club to make an approach for Leão this summer, with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea having been credited with an interest in the teenage attacker.
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