Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will reportedly make Everton striker Romelu Lukaku one of his transfer priorities this summer.
The reigning Premier League champions confirmed on Monday that the Italy boss would take charge at Stamford Bridge after Euro 2016, making him the long-term successor to Jose Mourinho in west London, as reported by ESPN FC.
According to speculation, the former Juventus boss has already started the process of compiling a transfer shortlist, as he will undoubtedly need to strengthen his squad over the summer in order to ensure that Chelsea are back competing for silverware next season.
That process has seen Lukaku emerge as a top target, according to The Independent, as Conte wants a proven goalscorer to either replace, or compete with, Diego Costa.
It isn’t the first time that Chelsea have been linked with a move for their former star, but the Belgian international has certainly earned their attention as well as interest from around Europe with his form at Goodison Park this season.
The 22-year-old has scored 25 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions so far this year, but it remains to be seen whether or not he would return to Chelsea after the club opted to sell him in 2014 having shown a lack of faith previous to that after various loan spells away from the club.
Lukaku started just one Premier League game for the Blues, and so he will undoubtedly be looking for some sort of assurance that his development won’t suffer if he does return for a second spell.
As noted by The Independent, one of Conte’s priorities this summer is to lower the average age of the Chelsea squad. However, it won’t be easy to do so particularly given that the Italian tactician could be looking to offload players such as Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy who will be deemed surplus to requirements.
Much also depends on the future of Costa who has linked with a big-money move to PSG this summer, as reported by the Evening Standard, as he could yet feature heavily in Conte’s plans which could scupper a move for Lukaku.