Chelsea: Striker approach infuriating Everton; Costa seeks exit; defender bid being prepared
Everton officials are said to be becoming increasingly infuriated by the behaviour of Chelsea representatives in the hunt for a deal for striker Romelu Lukaku, to the extent that it may put any potential deal in jeopardy, claim the Liverpool Echo. The Toffees are reluctant to allow the Belgian forward to depart at any price, but have so far become frustrated by continuing speculation of bids and rejections when they claim that Chelsea are yet to table an official offer.
This follows a souring of relations between the two clubs following a very similar public courting of John Stones last summer, with reports of a fourth bid from Chelsea denied by Everton bosses. Chelsea are taking time to prepare an offer which they believe will be accepted, but with the season kicking off a week today against West Ham, they need to add some urgency if they are to secure the 23-year-old’s services.
It now seems increasingly likely that Lukaku would be a replacement for Spanish striker Diego Costa, rather than a partner, with the Sun claiming that his agent, Jorge Mendes, is offering the striker around in a hope to secure him a Stamford Bridge exit before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month.
With Napoli and Inter Milan said to be lining up the 27 year old as replacements for Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi, should the latter depart the San Siro, it seems unlikely that finances would be too much of a problem in the deal. The biggest obstacle would most likely be getting the approval of Antonio Conte for the deal with the Italian reluctant to allow him to leave. However, with Costa’s attitude so far this summer leaving a lot to be desired, it’s likely that the new boss’ patience may begin to wear thin before the deadline strikes.
Reports in Spain suggest that Chelsea are set to rival Arsenal by making a £25 million offer for Valencia and Germany central defender Shkodran Mustafi. Despite returning to training last week following the Euros, Mustafi has trained just once with the Spanish club as they tour the UK and are currently based in London. Reports suggest that they are likely to accept Chelsea’s £25 million offer with Mustafi keen to leave.
Calm and composed both on and off the ball, and strong in the air, Mustafi would be a superb addition to the Blues back line and could easily be seen as a long term replacement for John Terry. At 24 and with a World Cup winners medal, Mustafi has bags of experience but also plenty of potential to improve in the future, and at £25 million would be a bargain for Conte as he looks to rebuild his back line.
The news come as a bonus as it seems increasingly likely that the Blues will miss out on Leonardo Bonucci, an Antonio Conte favourite who has also been linked with both Manchester clubs, as the Express report that he will stay in Italy at Juventus.
Bonucci was high on the list of priorities for Conte and despite stiff competition, he was seen a s perfect to fit into the Conte system having played under him at Juventus and with Italy, and would have helped to instil the philosophy in the new look back line as Conte seeks to improve the Chelsea defence.
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