Silly Season is starting to shift into second gear. The general aims have been set, the multi-pronged attack on several positions in need of upgrading, replacing, or adding depth to, has begun.
Undoubtedly the one that will drag on the longest is the center forward situation, where Diego Costa’s future is far from assured but that may not necessarily play a leading role in Chelsea going after Romelu Lukaku or Álvaro Morata. In fact, while the latest Costa rumors are perhaps starting to lean towards him staying, the rumors regarding Lukaku are starting to pick up steam once again.
Here’s Gianluca Di Marzio with a rather vague “Chelsea making progress” assertion, claiming that “first contacts” have been made and that while no talks between the clubs have taken place, £70m would get the deal done.
Or here’s Matt Law with a more assertive angle, claiming that Lukaku and Chelsea both want to get this done quickly, with the Blues willing to pay €90m to move things along swiftly — that’s about €8-10m more than Di Marzio’s price. Law also asserts that loan deals going the other way for the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham, Kurt Zouma, Ola Aina, or even Michy Batshuayi could be used to help grease the wheels.
Other sources are urging the driver of this runaway train to apply the brakes a bit. Here’s Kristof Terreur, for example, to reinforce the point that no actual negotiations have actually taken actual place yet, actually.
Lukaku is Chelsea's primary target, but too early for 'agreement likely to be reached'. No negotiations btwn clubs.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) May 17, 2017
That said, Terreur (and Di Marzio’s David Amoyal) do bring up an interesting point, which plays into the Morata vs. Lukaku / Conte vs. Board narrative. While Conte (still at Juventus) did prefer Morata back in 2014 and presumably today as well, Lukaku was actually his second choice three years ago. All Lukaku’s done since is score a lot of goals, none of which presumably hurt his standing on the priority list. So even if Conte does not end up with Morata, it’s not like we will be looking at another Shevchenko situation with Lukaku (fingers crossed).