It’s an important few days in Chelsea’s season as the return of the Premier League is just eight days away and the clash with Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have another game to play between now and then, the UEFA Super Cup clash with Villarreal in Belfast next Wednesday, which will be the final preparation for the new campaign, albeit a very competitive one. There will also be an intra-squad game at Cobham this weekend for those players who returned later from international duty.
Silverware is up for grabs and you can bet your house that Thomas Tuchel wants to bring that trophy back to London with him to add to the Champions League trophy he secured back in May.
Something that hasn’t been added to Chelsea so far this summer is that elite striker the club needs, though that could be about to change with the imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku.
There are still discussions between Chelsea and Inter over the signing of the frontman, with the Italians holding out for a fee that will eclipse the £100million Man City are paying Aston Villa for Jack Grealish, as announced on Thursday evening.
The British transfer record currently held by Grealish might not last too much longer. Chelsea are attempting to throw in a player to sweeten the deal, thought to be Marcos Alonso, though Inter aren’t entertaining it.
There is expectation that a deal will be done and Lukaku has indicated he is willing to return to Stamford Bridge, though he is not agitating for a move. Inter’s financial situation is dictating things despite already banking £70million from Paris St Germain for Achraf Hakimi earlier this summer.
Lukaku is already in Inter folklore having fired them to the Serie A title last season under Antonio Conte, who subsequently walked out on the club, with Fillipo Inzaghi now in place as head coach.
Chelsea could see a reduction on the fee of a little less than £2million after their development of Lukaku as a youth player before he turned 21, having signed him as an 18-year-old from Anderlecht in 2011.
Manchester United will also receive a chunk of the fee owing to a sell-on clause inserted in Lukaku’s deal when he swapped Old Trafford for San Siro two years ago.
Tuchel will want Lukaku in place before the start of the new season – and that isn’t far away. The Blues boss is then expected to turn his attention to securing a move for Jules Kounde, again ideally before the start of the season.
Chelsea often do a lot of their work in the background on transfers rather than in the public eye so it’s not inconceivable to think that Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech have been pretty busy since the end of the EURO 2020 championship last month.
Tuchel cut a very relaxed figure when he was asked about the pursuit of Lukaku following Chelsea’s 2-2- friendly draw with Spurs in midweek, as he has done throughout the summer.
But he will want a bit of preparation time with Lukaku as the Belgian will likely spearhead Chelsea’s charge at the Premier League title this season, which starts in a brutal fashion with four games against the “Big Six” in their first half a dozen games to start the new campaign.
Getting him in towards the end of the transfer window, which closes on August 31, would not be the most ideal scenario for Tuchel.
So the coming days are set to be crucial for Chelsea in their bid to bolster the squad. Departures need to happen as well, with Atalanta reportedly interested in signing Tammy Abraham as a domino effect of Lukaku’s move from Inter, which could see them move for Duvan Zapata.
Fringe players are expected to depart as well with Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ross Barkley and others on the chopping block as Tuchel needs to trim down his massive 42-man squad he currently has at Cobham.
Source by Football London