Rafael Leao could join Everton as part of AC Milan’s move for James Rodriguez, journalist Sandro Sabatini has told the Calciomercato Show.
Leao was directly involved in 12 goals (six goals, six assists) in 22 Serie A starts for Milan last season. He was predominantly used as a centre forward, but was also frequently deployed on the left flank (via WhoScored).
Milan’s willingness to part with him may be down to their abundance of options. The seven-time European Champions have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and Olivier Giroud at their disposal.
James only joined Everton ahead of the 2020/21 season but was left considering his future following the departure of Carlo Ancelotti.
Everton have made three signings so far this summer – recruiting Asmir Begovic, Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend – but only spent £1.8million.
Sabatini says James is keen on the transfer, but now ‘everything depends’ on Leao’s decision.
‘If he accepts’, Milan can greenlight the move for the former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid superstar.
Sabatini adds that ‘the whole situation’ is being orchestrated by Jorge Mendes, who represents both players.
If Leao accepts the move, he would provide excellent cover and competition for Dominic Calvert-Lewin – and that’s an area Everton have to address this summer.
But it’s a big ‘if’. Leao may justifiably fear that his game-time will be limited as a mere deputy to the Englishman, and perhaps prefer a move to become a recognised number nine.
And while he is versatile enough to play out wide, Rafael Benitez apparently wants to use more traditional wingers who will direct plenty of crosses into Calvert-Lewin.
It’ll be down to Mendes to allay those fears if he’s intent on striking this deal.
In other news, Marcus Bent has tipped Everton cash in on this forward.
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