Manchester United have lined up AC Milan forward Rafael Leao as a ‘plan B’ to Cody Gakpo, report ESPN Netherlands.

United held talks with Gakpo in the summer but were unable to complete a deal along with the other transfer business the club completed.

The PSV forward has since kicked on, starring for club and country, with 34 goal contributions just this season.

ESPN Netherlands report that PSV’s preference to keep Gakpo until the summer could prompt United to pursue Rafael Leao, as the Red Devils’ need for attacking reinforcements cannot wait.

Portugal v Ghana: Group H - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
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United line up Rafael Leao

Rafael Leao has also been on target at the World Cup, scoring Portugal’s third goal in their 3-2 group opener against Ghana.

Leao has struck six goals in 14 games for AC Milan this season plus one goal in the Champions League. He also has six assists.

Last season he scored 11 times and provided eight assists as AC Milan won their first Serie A title in a decade.

The 23-year-old can play in a variety of attacking roles but like many of United’s forwards, his preference is as a left winger.

This is one reason to question the validity of the rumour, with United’s priority surely being a centre-forward, however, ESPN Netherlands states: “Ten Hag wants more options on the flanks at United.”

Leao would not come cheap, although the fact his contract will only have 18 months left to run in January could press Milan into a decision if United offer a tempting figure, despite claims to the contrary.

CalcioMercato reported last week Milan want 100m Euros (£88m) as a minimum if they are to sell Leao mid-season. It is very unlikely United would shell out this kind of figure in the upcoming window.

Milan are still in the Champions League, due to face Tottenham in the last 16.

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