Everton explored a deal for Rafael Leao during the summer transfer window, but may have missed their chance to sign the AC Milan striker after an impressive start to the season.

Reports by Calciomercato claimed the Ivorian entered the off-season with an uncertain San Siro future. The Rossoneri needed to raise funds and believed the 22-year-old would allow them to raise a solid amount. With interest in the forward from Germany and England.

Everton and Borussia Dortmund both contacted AC Milan to discuss potential transfers for Leao. The Serie A runners-up set a price of €30m (£25m) in order not to leave themselves short in numbers or budget. But Leao discarded leaving Italy for life on Merseyside.

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It was always Leao’s intention to remain at AC Milan when Everton and BVB came calling looking into possible transfers. Calciomercato additionally noted at the start of the summer that he was working hard to convince the San Siro hierarchy to let him stay.

The Rossoneri had become open to selling their £32m signing from Lille in 2019 after his form regressed last season. He started the campaign with five goals and four assists in 13 Serie A appearances, but only added one goal and two assists over his following 17.

WAYNE ROONEY TO EVERTON IS A JOKE.

Leao did enough to convince Milan to let him stay, and are now reaping the rewards of overlooking Everton’s interest. The forward has again started the season in strong fashion with four goals and an assist in 10 league outings. He also has a goal and an assist in three Champions League appearances, and shone in defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Milan ready new contract for Everton target Leao

Leao’s efforts since rejected a transfer to Everton have not gone unnoticed among the AC Milan leadership, either. Foot Mercato report the Rossoneri are now preparing a new deal for the striker that will double his wage.

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The striker currently earns €1.3m-a-year (£21k-a/w) at the San Siro, but has convinced the Rossoneri to discuss a new contract.

While Leao – who Riccardo Trevisani claims, via Milan Reports, is capable of the ‘extraordinary’ – has also caught Portugal’s attention. Fernando Santos awarded the attacker his senior international debut this month, on which he assisted.