Chelsea: Lukaku latest; Brazilian forward eyed; defender exits
With a striker a top priority this summer, Romelu Lukaku is said to hand in a transfer request to Everton in an attempt to force through a move to ensure that he is the man to fill the void at Stamford Bridge, claim the Standard. With the Toffees refusing to budge on their £75 million asking price, two years after signing him from the Blues for £28 million, Chelsea are preparing a final ‘take it or leave it’ offer of £67 million according to the Independent and Lukaku is desperate for the deal to go through.
It represents a massive outlay for the London club, and an embarrassment to pay over double what they received for a player they sold two years ago, but Lukaku is one of the few strikers to be proven as prolific in the Premier League that is on the market this summer. Everton’s new owner will be reluctant to allow a star player to leave, but Ronald Koeman is unlikely to force a player to stay if he is desperate to leave, so a deal may well be struck.
Should a move for Lukaku fall apart, Gazetta Dello Sport claim that Arsenal are ensuring it will be costly. The Gunners are said to be targeting Inter striker Mauro Icardi, and the Italian club are keen to reinvest any money from his sale in Chelsea target Gabriel Jesus. The youngster was said to be available for less than £20 million, but the Italians are happy to gazump all other interested clubs to secure their target.
Chelsea will be reluctant to increase their bids for a young player with no proven record outside of Brazil. Whilst his form of late has been impressive, there are doubts over how he would adapt to life in the Premier League given the strength and intensity compared to Brazil, and as such any big bid for the striker would represent a substantial gamble which Roman Abramovich may be reluctant to confirm.
Antonio Conte could also have a fight on his hands to keep hold of Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado, with Juventus refusing to give up in the pursuit of their former loanee, claim Italian outlet Premium Sport. Cuadrado impressed in Turin last season after flopping at Chelsea since his January 2015 move, but Conte appears keen to give him another chance at Stamford Bridge.
Many Chelsea fans have run out of patience with Cuadrado, but under Conte, he could be reborn. With a new position in a different tactical set-up, many believe that Conte will get the best out of Cuadrado where Jose Mourinho previously struggled. Whilst he did impress at Juve last season, it will be interesting to see whether or not he can adapt to Premier League life, or if he will eventually return to Serie A permanently, though that seems unlikely this summer.
One player who will be plying his trade elsewhere next season is Baba Rahman. Sky Sports report that his loan move to Schalke has been confirmed by the German club after a successful medical and the player reportedly joining his new team-mates in training yesterday.
The full-back struggled to get a first team place last season and is not highly thought of by Antonio Conte, and should he impress on loan this season, a permanent deal seems most likely.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.