Saturday, October 16

Chelsea closes in on Romelu Lukaku after forward told Inter he wants to move | Chelsea


Romelu Lukaku is approaching a transfer to Chelsea after informing Internazionale of his desire to return to the European champions.

Chelsea are preparing a new offer for Lukaku after an offer was rejected this week and the deal is starting to look inevitable despite Inter’s reluctance to sell the forward.

Inter’s financial difficulties mean they need to make a big sale and are increasingly likely to be forced to part ways with their best player. Chelsea hopes that an offer of 120 million euros (102 million pounds) will be enough to land Lukaku, who has spent three years on their books since 2011.

Lukaku played a key role in his club winning Serie A last season and has previously shown little desire to return to England. In June he promised his future to Inter, but the Belgian international has changed his mind.

Chelsea’s determination to sign him is understood to have convinced the former Manchester United and Everton player that it is time for a new challenge. Lukaku will become the most expensive signing in Chelsea history if he joins, and could earn around £ 250,000 a week. The 28-year-old is seen as a more achievable target than Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

Chelsea’s search for Sevilla’s Jules Koundé has stalled after their attempts to make room on their squad for a new defender were thwarted by Kurt Zouma’s refusal to join West Ham.

Thomas Tuchel is looking for defensive reinforcements and has identified Koundé as a key target. However, Chelsea have yet to reach an agreement with Sevilla on a price for the French central defender, and uncertainty about Zouma’s future slows down negotiations.

Kurt Zouma, in action here for Chelsea against Arsenal last Sunday, does not want to join West Ham.
Kurt Zouma, in action here for Chelsea against Arsenal last Sunday, does not want to join West Ham. Photograph: Peter Cziborra / Action Images / Reuters

Koundé has a release clause of 80 million euros (68 million pounds sterling), which Chelsea are not willing to activate. They initially proposed to pay 35 million euros for the 21-year-old and include Zouma, only to find that Sevilla want more money. Sevilla disagrees with Chelsea’s £ 30m valuation of Zouma because they are unsure of the 26-year-old defender’s resale value and have decided to wait at least € 60m for Koundé, which is one of the best centrals in Spain. .

The Chelsea team has four center-backs, with César Azpilicueta and Reece James also able to operate on the right side of a back three, and they will need to move one to facilitate a Koundé play. Zouma is available after falling down Tuchel’s pecking order and there was a feeling the center-back would favor a trade to West Ham over Sevilla after they registered their interest last week.

Although the Frenchman is based in London, he has left West Ham disappointed after indicating that he does not want to join them. West Ham had had talks with Chelsea about a fee, but they are likely to shift their focus to other goals. David Moyes looked at Fiorentina center-back Nikola Milenkovic.

Chelsea have also measured Sevilla’s interest in Kenedy and Emerson Palmieri.


www.theguardian.com

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