Chelsea have addressed their one glaring problem from the first six months of the Thomas Tuchel era having secured the signing of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
The Blues have agreed a deal to bring the Belgian striker back to the club he left in 2014 for a club-record £97.1million on a five-year contract that will make the 28-year-old the club’s highest earner.
A lack of a ruthless frontman not only plagued Chelsea in the second half of last season but, really, since 2017 when Diego Costa departed the club. Now though, Chelsea have that world class frontman to deploy in front of goal.
Getting a striker in his prime, who is one of the the top four frontmen on the planet, for less than £100million is an excellent deal, once again masterminded by Roman Abramovich’s trusted sidekick Marina Granovskaia.
Chelsea have responded to Man City breaking the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish for £100million with a big move of their own to fix an area they desperately needed to sort out.
So, what’s next?
Well, Tuchel is still in the market for a centre back this summer and it is still believed that Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is still top of that list of targets.
Football.London understands there hasn’t been much movement on a deal for the French centre back since the original interest surfaced a few weeks ago.
The Spanish side were due to take on Aston Villa in a pre-season friendly this weekend and there could well have been some movement if they had travelled but a Covid outbreak in the Sevilla camp put a halt to the trip and the match was cancelled.
Any move for Kounde will have been put to the backburner regardless as Chelsea thrashed out a deal to secure Lukaku.
New Spurs transfer chief Fabio Paratici is known to often juggle up to ten transfer deals at a time but such was the importance of getting a deal for Lukaku sorted before the start of the new season, that took priority.
Football.London revealed last month that any deal for Kounde would not happen for a fee less than €60million, with the centre half having a release clause in his contract of €90million.
Chelsea were also keen to put defender Kurt Zouma into a deal to sign the 22-year-old Kounde but Zouma is settled in London and wants to fight for a place in Tuchel’s starting lineup.
West Ham were also believed to be after Zouma but personal terms couldn’t be agreed on a move from west to east London.
With Lukaku’s move agreed, Chelsea can now return to bolstering the defence that was very strong under Tuchel but a move for Kounde certainly has an element of future-proofing about it.
Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are all out of contract at the end of this season. Cesar Azpilicueta isn’t getting any younger, while Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori have both been sold this summer for a combined fee of £45million.