With the domestic season coming to a close, it’s time to look forward to the summer transfer window – which looks set to be a huge one for Chelsea.
The west London club are not only looking to revive their fortunes after coming to the end of the worst Premier League title defence of all time, but they’re also welcoming a new manager in Antonio Conte.
The Italy boss will have his own ideas on philosophy and personnel, so expect plenty of comings and goings at Stamford Bridge throughout the summer transfer window.
But how clued up are you on Chelsea’s planned transfer business – or more specifically, how clued up are you on which superstars the west London club will look to sign this summer?
If the answer is ‘not very’, then you’re in the right place! Football FanCast has the lowdown with our list of the TEN reported targets certain to be on Chelsea’s summer shopping list.
Chelsea appear keen to revolutionise their strikeforce this summer with former starlet Romelu Lukaku mooted as a priority recruit. Since flying the Stamford Bridge nest via two loan spells and a permanent move to Everton, the Belgian battering ram has emerged as one of the most formidable goalscorers in the Premier League – notching up 60 league goals over the last four campaigns. Aged 23, Lukaku’s potential is enormous and he clearly has unfinished business in west London. But sources claim Everton value him at a whopping £65million.
Everton team-mate John Stones is in Chelsea’s transfer crosshairs once again, following a plethora of notorious failed bids last summer – the last and most lucrative worth a whopping £37million. Despite coming under heavy criticism this season for his willingness to play out of the back, the England international’s price-tag has still increased, with recent reports mooting a £45million fee. That’s in no small part due to the immense competition for the 22-year-old’s signature, with Manchester City, Manchester United and even Barcelona all linked ahead of the summer.
Chelsea have been hot on Antoine Griezmann’s heels for well over a year and his agent surprisingly claimed last week that the France international is considering offers from other clubs. Having earned a big-money move to Atletico Madrid with talismanic services out wide for Real Socieded but since established himself as one of Europe’s most potent strikers, claiming 57 goals in 107 appearances for the Mattress Makers, the 25-year-old offers real tactical flexibility in attack. His contract includes a £63million release clause.
Marquinhos’ PSG tenure appears to be coming to an end this summer, having failed to claim a regular role in their starting Xi over international team-mates David Luiz and Thiago Silva. Nonetheless, the Brazil prospect remains highly-rated, as a versatile, athletic and technically gifted defender with plenty of experience for a 22-year-old, and a number of Premier League clubs are reportedly chasing him – including Chelsea and Manchester United. Some sources have claimed he’ll cost a whopping £40million, but that seems unlikely.
Another centre-back reportedly on Chelsea’s radar is Roma’s Kostas Manolas. The Greek international has established himself as one of the top defenders in Serie A and yonder since signing from Olympiacos two summers ago, this season averaging 2.4 tackles, 2.9 interceptions, 4 successful aerial duels and five clearances per match in the Champions League. Aged 24, the timing feel right for Manolas to make the step up to a top club but that could cost his next employers as much as £35million.
N’Golo Kante’s Leicester City contract reportedly includes a £20million release clause and Chelsea have been tipped to activate it. Needless to say, the France international was the backbone of the Foxes’ miraculous Premier League title bid, finishing the campaign with the most tackles and interceptions per match of any player in the division. Some have dubbed the 25-year-old the ‘new Makelele’ and amid doubts over Nemanja Matic’s future, he would be a more than worthy replacement.
Raiding Serie A looks set to be Antonio Conte’s first port of call this summer, with Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain high on the Chelsea gaffer’s transfer hit list. There are few better poachers not plying their trade at the top end of the Champions League, boasting a career return of 227 goals in 451 appearances at club level – including 39 strikes across all competitions this season. Aged 28 and into the final two years of his contract, a move this summer seems likely. But his buyout clause is set at a whopping £72million.
Linking Juventus players with a summer move to Chelsea has almost become a running joke in the tabloids, but the Blues’ reported interest in Alvaro Morata seems genuine. The Spain international isn’t the most potent of scorers but does bag important goals, including five in the Champions League as the Old Lady reached last season’s final. Tall, mobile and a good link-up player, the 23-year-old has plenty to offer. But Real Madrid look set to activate a buy-back clause before selling on Morata for a significantly larger fee this summer – potentially as much as £40million.
There’s a missing ingredient in Chelsea’s engine room and Antonio Conte seems convinced it’s the box-to-box services of Radja Nainggolan. The Roma star is a well-rounded midfielder who has just come to the end of a very strong campaign at the Stadio Olympico, notching up six goals in 35 Serie A appearances whilst averaging 1.2 created chances and 1.8 tackles per match. He’s rated at around £35million but unfortunately for the Blues, recent reports have claimed he’s already snubbed the chance to sign for them.
Chelsea were chasing Paul Pogba last summer and Antonio Conte oversaw his development into one of the world’s top midfielders at Juventus – so reports claiming the Blues are in ‘constant contact‘ over a potential summer deal hardly come as a surprise. Indeed, the France international boasts an eclectic mix of physicality, trickery and netting prowess and much like the aforementioned Nainggolan, would add a completely new dynamic to Chelsea’s engine room. But with pretty much every major club in Europe chasing the €100million-rated 23-year-old, failure to qualify for the Champions League could see the west Londoners miss out.