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Chelsea: Twist in Mahrez saga; Lukaku latest; new Dutch defensive target

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Chelsea: Twist in Mahrez saga; Lukaku latest; new Dutch defensive target

In a bizarre twist, with Riyad Mahrez said to have been close to a move to Arsenal over the weekend, Adidas made Riyad Mahrez 7 shirts available this weekend…in the blue of Chelsea, claim The Metro. Whilst it is far from definitive in proving where Mahrez will spend next season, it is worth remembering that the same happened with Henrikh Mkhitaryan a week before his arrival was confirmed by Manchester United.

The 25-year-old would not come cheap but would certainly provide the kind of marquee signing that Roman Abramovich is known to love. Having already spent much of the summer locked in negotiations with Leicester over N’Golo Kanté, the Blues may have some shortcuts which could give them a small advantage over their London neighbours in the fight to secure the signature of the Algerian winger.

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The Sun are also claiming that the Blues could be set to spend big again, with a move for Everton‘s Romelu Lukaku. Despite a £75 million price tag being put on him by the Toffees, the player is hoping to force a move through as he wants to return to Stamford Bridge. The Belgian feels he has unfinished business in West London after failing to make an impact over a three-year spell where he spent most of his time out on loan.

Whether a move can be completed or not may be reliant upon how much Lukaku can convince Everton to reduce their demands, with £75 million a stumbling block for Chelsea. The club are also targeting defensive improvements and additions in midfield, having already spent over £30 million to bring N’Golo Kanté to west London.

Lukaku may well be a replacement should Diego Costa end up returning to Madrid, but that means that any move may be a long and drawn out affair with no end to speculation nearing.

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In terms of defensive improvements, it seems that Antonio Conte may be refocusing his efforts after Napoli have demanded at least £45 million for Kalidou Koulibaly. The Mirror claim that the Italian is now shifting his attentions towards Dutch Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij. The 24-year-old is said to be available for just £15 million this summer, which will tempt Conte into making a move.

With 30 Holland caps to his name, the centre back has had an impressive career to date, and is seen as the kind of player who could substitute for John Terry as he plays an increasingly less prominent role in the Chelsea back-line.

At £15 million, he comes relatively cheap, and the Blues are desperate to secure at least one of their defensive targets as they seek to avoid last minute panic buying as occurred last summer.

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The news comes as a boost after it seems that they could be set to miss out on yet another defensive target, with Kostas Manolas; who previously seemed keen to try his luck in the Premier League, has come out and claimed that he is happy in Rome, with the speculation now seeming more like an agent’s ploy to force a new contract offer for the Greek defender, according to the Daily Star.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by seen saol.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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