Just one year ago, Lille snapped up Portugal’s answer to Kylian Mbappe without spending a single penny. Now, the former Sporting Lisbon wonderkid Rafael Leao looks set to become one of French football’s biggest exports.
And Aston Villa will be forced to shatter their transfer record for the third time this summer if they want to bring this explosive 20-year-old to the Midlands. SuperDeporte believes they do.
While admittedly overshadowed by Nicolas Pepe, Leao made a huge impression in his first ever Ligue 1 season, scoring eight goals as Lille, relegation candidates just 12 months earlier, finished second behind Paris Saint-Germain.
And, like Pepe, Leao now has clubs from all over Europe asking about his availability. La Voix du Nord claims that Everton, Valencia and an unnamed team from Italy are ramping up their interest with £36 million bids heading Lille’s way.
So with the bidding starting well beyond the £30 million mark, this looks like a real test of how much Aston Villa’s owners are willing to invest.
Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris have already spend over £80 million this summer with Bjorn Engels on his way too. Amongst that summer splurge were record breaking deals, first for Wesley Moraes, then for Tyrone Mings.
Leao, however, would cost at least £10 million more than the former Bournemouth defender. But, given how the summer has gone so far, don’t rule out a player who has been compared to Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo wearing claret and blue next season.
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