Antonio Conte was finally confirmed as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor on Monday for a three-year deal which is believed be worth £20m would he wins the Champions League. And the Italian wants to make Romelu Lukaku his first major signing, with Chelsea ready to offer £50m for the Belgian striker, reports Daily Star.
This would certainly represent a major u-turn by the Chelsea hierarchy, who sold Lukaku to Everton for £28m in the 2014 summer.
However, over the past few months, Manchester United also emerged as a firm favourite to sign the Belgian forward. Everton even fear Lukaku will make a move to Manchester United this summer – even if Louis Van Gaal doesn’t get them into the Champions League next season.
Interestingly, Conte was keen to sign the 22-year-old earlier also, shortly before he resigned as Juventus manager.
But the Italian giants eventually decided to sign Alvaro Morata rather, but Conte still remains a big fan of Lukaku.
Now, he is desperate to make the deal done as soon as possible to bypass a potential bidding war with Manchester United if Lukaku impress at the upcoming Euros.
Signing him will not be so simple. Lukaku has earlier insisted he wants Champions League football, which Chelsea cannot offer him next season.
And billionaire investor Farhad Moshiri hands Everton the financial muscle to sustain any attempt to snatch their 25-goal top scorer, who still has three years left on his contract.
Lukaku’s agent has also been talking about interests from the likes of PSG and Juventus. But Chelsea are confident a deal can be done despite so much competition.
The Everton striker has been enjoying an explosive form throughout this season, netting 25 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions for Roberto Martinez’s struggling squad, including both in the 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over his former team Chelsea.
The Blues are also very confident of bringing in Roma pair Radja Naingollan and Kostas Manolas – but now seem ready to abandon a possible move for Leonardo Bonucci.
The 28-year-old Juventus defender is under contract until 2020 and the Serie-A champions are refusing to do any kind of business, making a deal quite difficult.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal is also on Antonio Conte’s wish-list and is believed to be interested in a move to Stamford Bridge.