Chelsea focus efforts on signing Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku this summer as Alvaro Morata interest fades

Matt Law
Antonio Conte wants to sign Alexis Sanchez

Chelsea are lining up bids for Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku after cooling their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

Arsenal contract rebel Sanchez has emerged as a top target of head coach Antonio Conte, who is preparing his Premier League leaders for the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday, and Chelsea are also at the front of the queue of clubs interested in Lukaku.

Conte met with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia in Mayfair this week to discuss his plans for the summer, with Sanchez and Lukaku believed to be high on the agenda.

The Blues looked into the possibility of signing Sanchez before he moved to Barcelona from Udinese in 2011 and have followed his career ever since.

Chelsea are now one of a number of clubs carefully monitoring the situation of Sanchez, who is yet to sign a new contract at Arsenal and only has just over 12 months of his current deal remaining.

Alexis Sanchez has long been a Chelsea target Credit: REX FEATURES

Should they receive any encouragement, then Chelsea will join Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chinese clubs in bidding for the Chile international.

While there is an acceptance that Arsenal will be reluctant to sell to a Premier League rival, Chelsea believe they can land Sanchez, who has claimed he wants to remain in London.

Romelu Lukaku is keen to join Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES

On Sanchez, Conte said: “For sure, he's a top player. I can say this. But I don't like to talk about players from other teams because it's disrespectful for the players of other teams, other clubs and my own players.”

Lukaku has told Everton that he will not sign a new contract, with Goodison Park insiders fearing he has set his heart on a return to Chelsea above all other potential moves.

Chelsea made enquiries about re-signing Lukaku last year, but are optimistic they stand a better chance of landing the Belgian this time around.

Which Premier League club has the hardest (and easiest) run-in?

Although it would cost them well over £100million, Chelsea are not dismissing the prospect of signing Sanchez and Lukaku – particularly with Diego Costa’s future still in some doubt.

Chelsea failed with a bid for Morata last summer and had considered making a renewed move for the Spaniard at the end of this season.

Morata had even told friends that he expected to move to Stamford Bridge, but the situations regarding Sanchez and Lukaku have seen Chelsea switch their priorities.

Should they fail to land either Sanchez or Lukaku, then Chelsea could revisit their interest in Morata, but, at this stage, the 24-year-old has fallen down their list of targets.

The news represents a big blow to Real, who had hoped to use Chelsea’s past interest in Morata as a way of attempting to open negotiations over Eden Hazard.

But the offer of Morata will hold no weight with Chelsea, who are desperate to resist any bids for their star player and want to reward his superb form with a new contract.

Chelsea are confident they can hold on to Hazard, with the 26-year-old and his family settled in their home near the club’s Cobham training ground.

Hazard currently earns £200,000-a-week, plus bonuses, but will see his wages rise to closer to £300,000-a-week if he signs a new contract.

Conte believes Hazard can realise his career ambitions with Chelsea and said: “Now it's a great challenge to win the Premier League, more difficult a challenge for a player or a coach than other leagues. I think this league is really top in all aspects.

“Even if this club calls itself Real Madrid. We are in a great club. We have started to build something good for the future, and the ambitions of this club are the same as mine and my players.

“We stay in the right place if you want to be competitive in the game, be competitive in the future. I hope to play in the Champions League next season.

“I'm sure about this, that you'd be staying in the right place, in a great club with great ambition. I can tell this with 100 per cent.

“I think it's very important to stay, to feel that you stay in the right place with ambition. I think, I repeat, we are building something important together.

“Now we are putting the foundations in. If we are able to win the League this season, I repeat, I think we will be doing an incredible path, an incredible thing, because we are at the moment a club in transition.”

Other than working on transfer targets and keeping Hazard, Chelsea have opened talks over the future of captain John Terry, with the prospect of another contract extension not yet ruled out.

Terry had been expected to leave Chelsea this summer, but talks over his future are ongoing with the possibility of him signing an extension that would allow him to continue to work towards gaining his coaching badges.

Should he decide he wants to play regularly, then 36-year-old Terry will have to leave Stamford Bridge.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes