Chelsea: Lukaku update; £30m valuation for Brazilian; Spanish 'keeper linked
The Blues are increasingly nearing a move for Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. The Telegraph claim that the deal is being delayed whilst Everton make a move for Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, and once a replacement has been found the move will be completed very quickly.
The Blues will be keen to avoid any prolonged delay with the kick-off nearing, but are desperate to get their man to are likely to accept Everton’s demands on this front.
Antonio Conte will be hoping to have the Belgian signed up and joining in training as soon as possible to ensure that he adapts to the style of play and tactics used by the Italian as they are likely to represent a stark contrast when compared to what Lukaku was used to under Roberto Martinez.
Furthermore, Conte will also be keen to make sure that his fitness levels are up to scratch before the first game of the season approaches and it really counts.
That deal may in part be funded by an exodus of current squad players as Antonio Conte looks to shift dead-wood in his squad. The Italian recently told the Guardian that his current pre-season squad of 30 players is too big, particularly with no European football, and some can be expected to leave as a result of that as the manager cuts down the size of his playing staff.
This was inevitable following the failure to qualify for even the Europa League, and amongst those likely to be heading out are Victor Moses, Loic Remy and Oscar, though Conte refuses to specify any names as he claims he has not made any decisions and will not do so until after their pre-season tour is over in the coming days.
So, there could be a wave of outward movement in the next fortnight before the new season arrives in earnest.
One such player looks set to be Oscar. Inter Milan and Juventus are said to be monitoring the Brazilian, who the club are happy to sell if they can get £30 million for him. The Sun say that Inter is the most likely destination for the Brazilian, who suffered from poor form more than most last season after inconsistent displays since his arrival at Stamford Bridge meant that fans have been fortunate enough to see glimpses of brilliance, but not on a regular basis, which does not satisfy the new boss.
The Blues already have a possible replacement lined up, although the Brazilian candidate, Tiago Maia is more of a defensive midfielder than Oscar. The Mirror say that bosses are mulling over a £15 million bid for the Santos starlet, who at 19-years-old will feature for his country at the Olympics and is expected to become one of Brazil’s latest great exports.
Whether or not he is quite ready for Premier League football yet is hard to tell, but at £15 million with bags of potential, the Blues could be snapping up a bargain.
However, there is talk of another addition, with AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez refusing to rule out a move to Stamford Bridge. His manager Vincenzo Montella told the Standard that his future was yet to be decided amid speculation that Lopez would replace Asmir Begovic as the number two ‘keeper for Chelsea, with the Serbian disappointed at the lack of first-team football he has had since his arrival from Stoke.
With Everton said to be interested in Begovic, Lopez would be a cheap alternative of similar quality, though he has spent much of last season on the bench in Italy too. With excellent pedigree from spells in Milan and at Real Madrid, he would provide excellent cover for first choice Thibaut Courtois.
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