Forget Sancho: Man United could sign a big upgrade as Ten Hag eyes£86m”monster”.

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Manchester United have learned what it will take to prise Rafael Leao from AC Milan, having been linked with the Portugal sensation in recent months.

According to Manchester Evening News, the Serie A side are said to value their star asset at a fee of around €100m (£86m) if they are to part ways any time soon, albeit with United having not yet registered ‘concrete interest’ despite the rampant speculation.

This follows a previous report from the Mirrorwhich suggested that the Old Trafford outfit are ‘monitoring’ the 23-year-old at present, with manager Erik ten Hag said to be a ‘big admirer’ of the former Lille starlet.

The Premier League giants have been given a boost in their potential bid to sign the forward amid claims that the 16-cap menace has rejectedthe Italian side’s opening contract offer, with just 18 months remaining on his existing deal.

Although United are believed to be seeking a new centre-forward addition to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, the signing of Leao would more likely strengthen the club’s wide options, with the youngster typically operating off the left flank at the San Siro.

The in-form “monster” – as described by journalist Mike Piellucci – has been in scintillating form for the Rossoneri so far this season, having scored seven goals and laid on nine assists in just 20 games in all competitions for the Italian champions.

Voted the best player in Serie A earlier this year, the 6 foot 2 hotshot was also integral in last season’s Scudetto success, having scored 14 goals and laid on 12 assists in all competitions during that glorious campaign.

A player who appears “ready made for the Premier League“, according to journalist Daniel Childs, the £29k-per-week gem also showcased his class on the World Cup stage over the last few weeks, scoring twice in his five substitute outings in Qatar.

Bringing in such a talent who is currently full of confidence could well allow Ten Hag to secure an upgrade on struggling star Jadon Sancho, with the £73m Englishman having endured a frustrating stint in Manchester thus far.

Despite flourishing at former club Borussia Dortmund – where he registered 114 goal contributions in just 137 games – the 22-year-old has since failed to truly make his mark at the Theatre of Dreams over the last 18 months, with just eight goals and four assists to his name in 52 outings.

That inability to replicate his Bundesliga form has been somewhat “concerning” – according to club legend Rio Ferdinand – with the 23-cap ace currently away from the first-team squad as he attempts to raise his fitness levels, having been omitted from Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad.

In truth, Sancho appears a shadow over his former self at present, with even his famed dribbling prowess – for which he was dubbed a “menace” by German icon Thomas Muller – having seemingly gone missing, as he ranks in just the top 25% in Europe in that regard among those in his position.

Leao, meanwhile, has been far more impressive in that metric in recent times, with the Portuguese dynamo ranking in the top 6% for dribbles completed, having shown himself to be a truly devastating threat down the left flank.

With it unclear as to whether Sancho will ever be able to get back to his best, the addition of the Milan gem could well be the upgrade that Ten Hag is in need of.

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