Antonio Conte won’t be arriving at Chelsea until after the European Championships but it seems he is already planning his transfer targets.
The Italian manager will take charge of his native country at Euro 2016 and will join up with the west London club immediately afterwards. Therefore, it’s no wonder he is already eyeing up a few potential signings.
And, according to the Daily Mirror, he already knows who his number one target is. The report states that Conte wants Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain to join him in the Premier League in a £45 million deal.
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A new striker could be seen as a priority for Conte with the side relying on sole striker Diego Costa. However, the Spaniard hasn’t been able to emulate his impressive debut season, scoring 14 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions this time around.
But the futures of the three backup forwards all appear to be in doubt. Loic Remy has managed just three goals in 19 matches while it’s unlikely that loan signings Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao have done enough to earn permanent moves, scoring three times between them.
So, the signing of Higuain appears to make sense.
It makes even more sense when you consider his goal scoring record. The Argentine has scored 34 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions this season, including 32 in 33 in Serie A.
Clearly, having Higuain and Costa competing for a starting place can only be a good thing for the club.
However, the same report states that the former Real Madrid striker could be brought in to replace Costa, rather than to partner him.
They believe Costa has attracted the interest of China as the mega-rich league attempt to make him their next marquee signing. It’s believed that three different clubs have contacted Costa’s representatives and are willing to offer him a deal worth more than £250,000-per-week.
Whether Costa wants to leave London for the Far East remains to be seen.
Either way, Higuain appears to be someone that Conte is extremely keen to sign and it’s easy to see why.
He played for Real Madrid for seven seasons, scoring 121 goals, helping them to win three La Liga titles in the process. In 2013, he moved to Italy to join Napoli in a deal believed to be worth around £30 million and has repaid the club with 87 goals in 147 games, inflating his asking price by another £15 million.
Despite being a world-class striker, some Chelsea fans may question splashing out such a large sum on a 28-year-old.