Football transfer rumours: Morata, Lukaku or Sánchez to Chelsea?

Simon Burnton
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Romelu Lukaku is a reported subject of a tug-of-love between Chelsea and Manchester United.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters</span>
Romelu Lukaku is a reported subject of a tug-of-love between Chelsea and Manchester United. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Chelsea have been linked with both Álvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku before, but today’s update is that civil war has broken out at Stamford Bridge over which highly-rated extremely expensive sharp-shooter to buy. Alexis Sánchez’s declaration that he wants “to stay in London but with a team that is winning things”, widely interpreted as a come-and-get-me plea to the apparent future champions, only complicates matters further. “Chelsea are locked in a £70m wrangle over which striker will be their top summer target,” reports the Sun. “Boss Antonio Conte wants to nab Real Madrid’s Spanish hitman, but technical director Michael Emenalo is desperate to lure Lukaku back.”

Luckily José Mourinho is ready to help out his successor in the Chelsea hot-seat, by stepping in to buy Lukaku himself. “Mourinho needs a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic,” reports the Mail, “and Lukaku fits the bill.” But Manchester United have a big bill, and it will take more than one man to fit it: the Independent provides a handy summary of their summer want list, saying there is a “general desire to bring in a top-class forward, two midfielders, a defender and a winger, two of whom are ‘warriors’.” That, it seems reasonable to conclude, is a lot of shopping.

Meanwhile the Mirror insists that Monaco’s Tiemoué Bakayoko is their No1 top biggest major great summer transfer target, in which case we’ve got some bad news for them: the player’s brother and agent Soualio has just announced that “joining Paris Saint-Germain would be his dream”, adding that “if they offered us a contract we wouldn’t turn them down”.

Liverpool are being linked with yet another Bundesliga star, or rather with yet another Bundesliga star yet again, in the shape of “the German Dele Alli”, Schalke’s Max Meyer. The Mirror reports that he “looks certain to move to the Premier League”, and that Jürgen Klopp will have to battle Everton and Tottenham for his signature (though it seems a bit selfish for Spurs to want two Dele Allis). Klopp has personally watched two recent Schalke matches, simultaneously running the rule over Leon Goretzka, but the fact that Meyer might be available for a knock-down £14m as his contract enters its final year has got the Premier League bargain-hunters excited. Additionally, the Telegraph asserts that “Liverpool are looking for another centre-half this summer”, to compete for places with Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip.

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Everton “want to bolster their defensive options”, according to the Liverpool Echo, and have settled upon Hull’s Harry Maguire as the man to do the bolstering. In a totally ideal world, they would also bring in Burnley’s Michael Keane in a sensational and very English defensive double-swoop.

Stoke City are ready to break their transfer record again this summer, or at the very least are not ruling out doing so. “If the right player came along, we are always looking at opportunities,” says their chief executive, Tony Scholes. “We are always looking at the opportunities on how we can improve on what we’ve got.” Stoke happen to be one of the clubs rumoured to be keen on the loan signing of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who Chelsea are apparently ready to send out on a season’s loan. Brighton are also said to be interested in the 21-year-old.

Sunderland might be about to lose their most influential player without getting a penny for him, with reports emerging suggesting that Jermain Defoe’s contract contains a clause which will let him swan out of the Stadium of Light for no money at all come the summer should they get relegated.

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