Chelsea: Lukaku chase ends in failure; new striker target; Brazilian midfielder wanted
It seems as though Chelsea may face an unexpected defeat in their hunt for former striker Romelu Lukaku, with Everton set to reject their advances after believing that they have been treated with a lack of respect by the London club. The Daily Mail said that they believe Chelsea leaking reports of rejected bids when there is yet to be an official bid is an attempt to unsettle the Belgian, and they will take the same stance as they took with John Stones last summer and refuse to sell.
Instead the Toffees are set to offer their main man a new contract to ensure that he is committed to the future at Goodison Park, with new boss Ronald Koeman seeing him as a key part of his plans going forwards. With no financial necessity to sell the 23 year old, it seems that Chelsea may have to park their interest for their former player and hope that he decides to try to force a move, though even then a deal this summer looks unlikely. With Diego Costa increasingly desperate to leave and Alvaro Morata unavailable, Antonio Conte is not having much luck in his search for a striker.
A possible substitute for Lukaku could be Inter Milan striker and captain Mauro Icardi claim the Daily Star. The Argentinean scored 16 goals in 34 league games for the Italian side last season and is keen to leave the club, with a reported value of £50 million, which should not deter Chelsea from making a move for him.
The former Barcelona striker has enjoyed a good record across much of his career and would be a good addition for the Blues, though he lacks the statement factor that Lukaku or Morata may have brought with them. With the sacking of Roberto Manicini and appointment of Frank de Boer in the last few days at the San Siro, it remains to be seen if this will have any impact on his future, but it seems unlikely.
Another player being monitored by the Blues is Brazil’s Thiago Maia, currently in action for his country at the Olympic Games. The Standard report that they are set to make an offer for the Santos star once the games draw to a close. Though they may face competition from Paris Saint Germain, they have been buoyed in recent days by news surfacing that Maia is set to hire Giuliano Bertolucci as his agent, a man who has frequently worked to bring stars to Chelsea in the past.
The 19 year old holding midfielder would most likely slot in alongside N’Golo Kante in midfield and could provide a long term replacement for Nemanja Matic, with rumours of a Juventus interest re-surfacing following confirmation of Paul Pogba’s move to Manchester. Conte is keen on Maia, a young player with bags of potential, and will be hoping that the club can get the deal done.
The club are also prioritising a move for Benfica defender Victor Lindelof according to the Standard as Napoli continue to refuse to enter into meaningful negotiations over a move for Kalidou Koulibaly. The Italians are reluctant to allow him to leave but Chelsea remain convinced they can persuade the club to part with the Senegal international, who is hoping to move to London.
However, with that deal still in the pipeline, Chelsea are reluctant to meet the Danish central defender’s £25 million release clause to bring him to Stamford Bridge from Portugal. Lindelof, who can also cover at right back, is the younger of the two and has more potential for future development, but also lacks the strength and experience that Conte is seeking to bring in this summer.
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