That Antonio Conte has told Diego Costa he’s no longer in Chelsea’s plans for the future suggests the Italian coach has identified a replacement for the Spain international.
Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, but the player at the top of Conte’s summer wish-list appears to be Everton’s centre-forward Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku confirmed back in May that he wants to leave Goodison Park this summer in order to further his career, but the Toffees aren’t making it easy for the Belgian striker.
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According to Goal, Everton are demanding an eye-watering £100 million for their star man - meaning any club wishing to sign the 24-year-old must smash the world transfer record.
Chelsea, needless to say, are refusing to meet Everton’s asking price. They know Lukaku wants to leave and, more importantly, wants to leave in order to re-join them.
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Lukaku spent three years with Chelsea, after joining the west London outfit from Anderlecht in 2011, but only made 15 appearances for the club despite impressing during his loan spells at West Brom and then Everton.
The Toffees broke their transfer record to sign Lukaku in July 2014, shelling out £28 million, and they’ve decided they won’t be selling unless they can make a huge profit on his sale - which is fair enough.
How much is Lukaku really worth?
But how much is Lukaku seriously worth in the current market?
Given his age and goalscoring stats - he scored 26 goals in 37 Premier League appearances last season - Everton can surely expect anything in the region of £55 - £70 million.
Is this Lukaku's one major weakness?
However, there might be one aspect of Lukaku’s game that needs to improve - drastically - if he’s to become the world-class striker that Chelsea need.
A video has been doing the rounds on social media which shows some of Lukaku’s dreadful first touches and poor hold-up play over the past few seasons while playing for both Everton and Belgium.
Watch it for yourself here…
For £100 million, you’d expect the first touch to be perfect almost every time.
Has he improved his first touch this season?
It’s clear that this has been one of the weakest aspects of Lukaku’s game - but has he managed to improve it over the course of the 2016-17 campaign?
Another video showing his best moments from the current season indicates he’s been working on it.
See what you think…
Is Romelu Lukaku good enough to lead the line at Chelsea? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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