Chelsea line up big-money move for Premier League star – reports
By Matt Farr
Chelsea have made Romelu Lukaku their number one transfer target if they lose Diego Costa to China in the summer, according to a report.
Costa has become the latest big-name Premier League player to be linked with a move to the lucrative Chinese Super League, and the Daily Mail claim that Costa’s agent Jorge Mendes held talks with Tianjin Quanjian over a potential move.
Chelsea remain reluctant to part ways with their star striker this month, who has contributed 14 goals and five assists in the Blues’ quest for the Premier League title, but the Mirror claim that they have a contingency plan in place should they lose him in the summer.
The Mirror understand that former Blues striker Romelu Lukaku has been shortlisted to return to Stamford Bridge.
The Belgium international spent three years at Chelsea, where he made just 15 appearances in all competitions in between loan-spells at West Brom and Everton.
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He later joined Everton on a permanent deal in July 2014 for a club-record £30million deal, and has scored an impressive total of 74 goals for the club in 149 games.
Chelsea failed in their attempts to re-sign Lukaku last summer and The Mirror claimed that it would take £75million to land their man – it is expected they would hold out for a similar amount in the summer.
Everton have yet to open talks with the 23-year-old over a new long-term deal, and could be powerless to resist Lukaku re-joining Chelsea at the end of the season.
Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez are also understood to be potential replacements for Costa.
Football Insider verdict
Lukaku has proven time and time again that he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League and in Europe. And he is still only 23-years-old. He didn’t have the best of times at Chelsea, where he really failed to establish himself in the first-team, but in the absence of Diego Costa, Lukaku would be the star figure. He’d have international team-mates Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi for support, and that will do wonders for him. It will be a big disappointment for Everton if they lose Lukaku, but they will not be able to keep hold of him forever. No disrespect to the Toffees, but Lukaku is destined for bigger and better things, and he will get a shot at the big-time once again with Chelsea.
In other Everton transfer news, Ronald Koeman is keen on bringing £47 million-rated defender Kostas Manolas to the club.