Chelsea appear to be closing in on the signing of Romelu Lukaku as Thomas Tuchel looks set to get the elite level striker that he has been keen to secure all summer.
There is expectation on both sides that a move, likely to be a Premier League record, will get done sooner rather than later. Tuchel would like to have the Belgian striker in the capital before the start of the season on August 14.
After a quiet start to the transfer window which mainly focused on outgoings so far for the Blues, Marina Granovskaia has got down to work to secure the signature of Lukaku, who is expected to cost more than Jack Grealish’s switch to Man City which was announced on Thursday.
It is set to be a busy few days for Chelsea ahead of the start of the new season, with decisions needing to be made on outgoings as well as incomings.
Tuchel revealed to football.london in midweek that he had 42 players at Cobham on Monday for training, that includes all of his first team players as well as those who returned from loan spells last season and the talented crop of youngsters.
Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley both missed out for the 2-2 draw with Spurs on Wednesday night and both have very uncertain futures in west London. Michy Batshuayi also didn’t make an appearance though he was named among the substitutes for the game.
With a week until the Blues kick off their Premier League season against Crystal Palace, we take a look at the latest state of play for the Blues in the transfer market, which is open until August 31 in case you’d forgotten.
Everything is being dominated by the supposedly imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku on that previously mentioned record deal from Inter Milan.
It is believed that the two sides are still yet to agree a fee for Lukaku, with Chelsea attempting to put in some leverage by throwing a player as well as cash in Inter’s direction. That player is believed to be Marcos Alonso but Inter are holding out for a straight cash deal.
It is believed that the Londoners have had two bids rejected by Inter, with a third set to arrive.
Personal terms won’t be a problem for Chelsea to agree with the 28-year-old, who has indicated a willingness to move to Stamford Bridge but isn’t agitating for a move away from the San Siro.
There were two realistic striker options for Chelsea this summer, Lukaku and Erling Haaland. If the club gets a Lukaku deal over the line, any potential move for Haaland down the road is probably dead in the water.
Once the move for Lukaku is (hopefully) concluded then Chelsea will turn their attention to signing Jules Kounde, the French centre back at Sevilla.
As revealed by football.london a fortnight ago, the Spaniards are not likely to deal for anything less than €60million. Likewise with Inter, Sevilla would prefer a cash move though Chelsea have reportedly been offering players as part of any package.
Tuchel has plenty of decisions to make on players over the coming days with pre-season now done and dusted.
Tuchel had 42 players at the Cobham training complex on Monday, an extremely bloated squad, and that is expected to be cut down.
The aforementioned Drinkwater and Barkley are on the chopping block, as is Tiemoue Bakayoko, Baba Rahman, Batshuayi and, according to reports, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Tammy Abraham’s name is also in the mix for a departure, which will likely come into even more focus should Chelsea secure the signature of Lukaku.
Abraham made only two Premier League appearances between March and May last season thanks to a combination of injuries and non-selection from Tuchel, who left the striker out of the matchday squad for the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Atalanta are believed to be keen on the Chelsea striker as a bit of a merry-go-round goes on. If Chelsea sign Lukaku then Inter need a replacement, believed to be Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata. Then, Atalanta will need a replacement and it is thought they have targeted Abraham.
West Ham and Southampton have been credited with an interest in Abraham, but if a move were to take place, Chelsea would likely prefer it to be a permanent one. Time will tell.