Chelsea have rejected an offer from Juventus for young forward Romelu Lukaku, as they want to sell him rather than loan him out.
According to the Evening Standard the reigning Serie A champions are leading the race for the Belgian’s signature, and sent a formal request to Jose Mourinho asking to take the striker on loan for the season. However it’s thought that neither club nor player are keen on yet another temporary switch away from west London, and both parties would prefer a permanent transfer as an alternative. Despite having been impressive at both West Brom and Everton over the past two campaigns, it’s assumed that Mourinho isn’t planning on installing him as his first-choice striker - the fact that he’s made moves for both Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic would back this theory up.
Of course the 21-year-old striker was never going to be short of clubs wanting to take him on this summer, and Juventus aren’t the only side keen to make a deal. It’s thought that Atletico Madrid harbour a strong interest in the forward due to the fact that Costa is edging closer to the Vicente Calderon exit door everyday, and the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham have also been named in connection, albeit loosely.
The Standard goes on to suggest that Juventus will now attempt to put together the funds necessary to pay Chelsea’s asking price for Lukaku, and this could mean that Antonio Conte will host of a clearance sale of his own. Reports yesterday indicated that long-term Manchester United target Arturo Vidal could be amongst the Turin casualties, with Conte said to be willing to flog him for a poultry £24million. The rejection suffered at the hands of the Blues could put the fright into Juve, and may force them into sanctioning cut-price sales in order to give themselves money to play with.
Whilst Wolfsburg and Atletico both continue to circle with intent Conte is sure to know that a move for Lukaku needs to be made sooner rather than later, though it remains to be seen how much Mourinho values his young forward at.
SHOULD LUKAKU STAY?
Having bagged himself 32 goals over the past two Premier League seasons, and shown himself capable of effortlessly navigating some of England’s toughest defences, it remains a mystery as to why Mourinho doesn’t want to fight tooth and nail the keep Lukaku. The forward has the potential to be turned into a world-class frontman with the right guidance and given the Chelsea boss’ experience in handling the top names in football, he is more than qualified to oversee such development.
As has already been mentioned though, The Special One seems hell bent on completely rejuvenating his attack with players who have excelled on the continent, and Lukaku could even be traded as part of a swap deal.
Chelsea fans, do you think this is the right call? What should Mourinho do with his Belgian prodigy? Let us know in the comment box below...