Monday 24 July 2017

Chelsea eye £100m Lukaku-Barkley swoop in summer

Everton's Romelu Lukaku. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Everton's Romelu Lukaku. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Matt Law

Chelsea are weighing up a summer bid to sign Everton pair Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley in a deal that could be worth up to £100m.

Lukaku has told Everton he will not sign a new contract, while Barkley is yet to extend his deal that will have just 12 months to run at the end of the season.

Everton value Lukaku at over £65m and, despite the fact time is running out on his contract, would not accept less than £30m for Barkley - meaning a deal for both players would not cost under £100m.

That may seem like a huge outlay, but Chelsea received £60m for Oscar and could bank another big fee for Diego Costa, whose future remains in doubt following Tianjin Quanjian's failed bid to take him to China in January.

AC Milan will make a summer offer for Cesc Fabregas, while Nemanja Matic is believed to be considering his Chelsea future after losing his place to the Spaniard in recent weeks, although Matic did return for the FA Cup victory over Manchester United.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is in the market for two strikers and has already targeted Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, who is understood to be keen on a summer switch to Stamford Bridge.

Sources close to Lukaku (right) claim that the Belgian wants to return to Chelsea after telling Everton that he has no intention of signing the contract that had been awaiting his signature.

Everton had been unwilling to include a buy-out clause under £90m in Lukaku's proposed new contract, which would have made it incredibly difficult for him to leave Goodison Park.

Chelsea signed Lukaku in 2011, but sold him three years later to Everton for £28m without the Belgium international scoring a single goal for the club.

Barkley has been on Chelsea's radar for a number of years and his recent form has resulted in the club reviving their interest in the 23-year-old.

Tottenham had been leading the chase for Barkley, but Chelsea are ready to rival their London neighbours for the midfielder amid interest from both Manchester clubs.

Quota Chelsea know they must keep their home-grown player quota, which could be depleted by the departures of Fabregas, captain John Terry and Asmir Begovic, intact.

England international Barkley has four goals and seven assists for Everton this season, which is more than both Willian and Fabregas, and has also formed a good understanding with Lukaku.

As Chelsea found with their pursuit of John Stones two summers ago, Everton will fight hard to keep their star players and will not be bullied into selling Lukaku or Barkley. However, a cheque for £100m would certainly test their resolve.

Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate will include Marcus Rashford in the England squad today as he seeks to solve a striker crisis ahead of next week's friendly away to Germany and the World Cup qualifier at home to Lithuania.

The England manager will name a larger than usual squad today as he has a number of players - including captain Wayne Rooney - who are serious injury doubts. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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