By Tom Blackburn
Chelsea could wait as late as deadline day to secure the services of Romelu Lukaku from Everton, according to a report.
The Daily Express claim that Chelsea are willing to play the waiting game for the £65million striker, and are yet to make their final offer.
It is said that Stamford Bridge manager Antonio Conte would like a deal for Lukaku clinched as soon as possible.
It was reported on Tuesday of last week that Chelsea want the Lukaku deal done before the opening League game against West Ham on 15 August.
But the Express claim Conte is prepared to bide his time for the priority target and could hang on until 31 August, the final day of the summer window.
On Monday, the Liverpool Echo claimed that the Merseysiders will aim to keep the striker out of the clutches of Chelsea by offering him a lucrative new deal.
It is said that Everton chiefs are set to meet with Lukaku’s representative Mino Raiola in the coming days to thrash out the Belgium international’s future.
Lukaku has three years remaining on his contract but Everton are keen to send out a message that they will fight to hold on to their marquee players.
The Merseysiders want to secure the Belgian’s long-term commitment in the face of concerted pressure from Chelsea to re-sign the 23-year-old.
The Daily Mail claims Chelsea’s chase for Lukaku has infuriated the Merseysiders.
The report also claims that while Chelsea are confident an offer of £65million plus Loic Remy can secure a deal. Everton claim they are yet to receive any contact and will not encourage it.
The stubborn stance is one that Everton adopted last summer with Chelsea, when they refused to allow John Stones to join the London giants.
The Londoners tabled four bids of up to £37million for Stones but the Toffees stood firm and kept the England defender in Merseyside.
Lukaku left Chelsea two years ago when he became the Merseysiders’ £28million club-record signing following an impressive season on loan at the club.
Lukaku has scored an impressive 61 goals in 127 appearances for Everton, including 25 in 46 matches last season in a team that finished 11th in the Premier League.
In other Everton transfer news, they have made an approach for a Premier League winger and have been set a price tag of £30million.