It seems inevitable Romelu Lukaku will one day return to Stamford Bridge.
The Belgium international has emerged one of the top strikers in the Premier League, boasting 60 goals at just 23 years of age, but never truly got to prove it at Chelsea – failing to score in his succession of cameo outings during a three-year spell.
But it appears the Everton front-man won’t return to west London this summer, with recent reports from London Evening Standard claiming Chelsea are refusing to meet the Toffees’ eye-watering £65million valuation of the 23-year-old.
Admittedly, that’s a substantial markup on a player the Blues sold at £28million just two years ago, so perhaps they’re better off seeking some cheaper alternatives rather than entering another John-Stones-Esque feud with the Merseyside club.
And with that in mind, we at Football FanCast have conjured up a list of FIVE less expensive front-men who’d offer the former Premier League champions better value for money.
No striker on the market this summer will represent better value for money (at least in terms of transfer fees) than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, having already revealed he’s leaving PSG on a free transfer after firing them to four consecutive league titles with 122 goals in 113 Ligue 1 appearances. The Sweden international seems destined for a last hurrah in the Premier League but his wages would admittedly be ginormous – and recent speculation suggests he’s most likely to sign for Manchester United.
Every speculative list of this variety should include one wildcard suggestion – and mine is former Manchester United supersub Javier Hernandez. The Mexico poacher has more than proved what he’s capable of when given a recurring role in the starting Xi since signing for Bayer Leverkusen last summer, going on to a spot in the Bundesliga’s Team of the Season through a return of 17 goals in 28 outings. Bayer will be loathed to sell after a single campaign but having originally acquired Chicharito for just £7.3million, a double-your-money offer would certainly tempt them.
Much like Lukaku, Daniel Sturridge has established himself as one of the top strikers in the Premier League since leaving Chelsea in January 2013. The England international suffers his fair share of injury problems (to put it lightly) but is nothing short of lethal when fully fit, boasting 53 goals in 92 appearances for the Reds across all competitions – including a stellar strike in the Europa League final. Reports of the Anfield outfit cashing in on the crock star have bubbled under the surface this season, although The Sun value him at a lofty £50million.
Alvaro Morata is one of the most exciting young strikers in Europe, having already developed a knack for scoring incredibly important goals – namely five in the Champions League as Juventus reached last season’s final. But the 23-year-old still isn’t top of the pecking order in Turin and rumour has it Real Madrid will activate a £25million buyback clause this summer before selling on their former starlet at a significant profit – likely around the £40million mark. Chelsea have already been linked with the Spain international, but Arsenal appear to be leading the pack.
Having flourished under similar ideals of physicality, pragmatism and organisation at Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann has long-been mooted as a potential Chelsea transfer target. The France international has emerged as one of the most lethal forwards in world football since signing for Diego Simeone’s side in summer 2014, notching up 57 goals in 106 appearances, and with a £63million release clause, comes in slightly cheaper than Lukaku.