Chelsea ‘closing in on big-money Romelu Lukaku deal’
Chelsea are reportedly on the verge of reaching an agreement with Inter Milan for Romelu Lukaku.
The Blues are desperate to sign a new centre-forward this summer and had been strongly linked with Erling Braut Haaland before Borussia Dortmund closed the door on a move.
Lukaku has since emerged as the club’s leading target, with the Blues thought to be prepared to pay in the region of €110m (£93.5m) for his services in the current market.
According to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are ‘confident’ of signing the Belgium international ‘in the next few days’, with the two clubs involved set for further talks over the weekend.
Romano has also denied suggestions that Thomas Tuchel’s side are in the running for Lionel Messi, who is now seemingly preparing to sign a contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Lukaku previously represented Chelsea between 2011 and 2014 but failed to find the back of the net in 15 appearances during a difficult spell at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian, who has scored 64 goals in 95 appearances for Inter over the last two seasons, could make his second debut for the Blues in their 2021-22 Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on August 14.
Chelsea’s pursuit of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde has reportedly been placed on hold as the Blues prioritise a move for Romelu Lukaku.
Thomas Tuchel has supposedly identified Kounde as a leading centre-back target for the current window, but Sevilla’s £68m asking price is hindering progress in negotiations.
Chelsea are thought to be trying to drive the price down with player-plus-cash offers – which are yet to bear fruit – while Kurt Zouma’s alleged refusal to move to West Ham United is another stumbling block.
As a result, Sport claims that Chelsea have temporarily cooled their interest in Kounde as they remain determined to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.
The Inter Milan forward is reported to have already agreed terms over a five-year deal with Chelsea, who are now expected to fork out a nine-figure sum in order to re-sign him this month.
Roman Abramovich is also understood to have been alerted to Lionel Messi’s availability, although the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is being heavily tipped to move to Paris Saint-Germain.