Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing AC Milan star Rafael Leao this summer, with the Portuguese youngster earmarked as the ‘next Thierry Henry’ by manager Stefano Pioli.
The Gunners are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements, having waved goodbye to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last month, while Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are set to leave for free at the end of the season.
Dusan Vlahovic was strongly linked with a move to north Londoner, only for the Gunners to be pipped to the Serbian’s signature by Italian giants Juventus.
And now Italian outlet La Repubblica claims that Arsenal have turned their attention to AC Milan forward Leao, who has previously been linked with moves to Everton and Wolves.
The 22-year-old is a versatile attacking option and can operate on the left or through the middle and has scored 23 goals in 100 games for the Italians and has provided 15 assists in those games.
Leao’s style of play has often been compared to that of Arsenal legend Henry, and his manager Pioli echoed those remarks last month.
‘He reminds me so much of (Thierry) Henry,’ the AC Milan boss said of the former Sporting Lisbon star.
‘I think he has to convince himself and work hard on his head to try to be ambitious. One with his means must think of reaching the top of the world, but talent isn’t enough. He has understood that he has to work in a certain way.’
Meanwhile, Henry’s former team-mate, Alessio Tacchinardi, also likened Leao to the Frenchman.
‘The young Henry is the Leao of today,’ he told Tuttosport.
‘The characteristics of the two players are the same: you see the pace in one-on-ones and they always go on the outside to break through the opponent’s defence.
‘I was slaughtered on social media for this comparison. But just compare the videos and there’s nothing else to say, they’re the same.’