Chelsea have some serious wheeling and dealing to do with just over five weeks until the opening day of the Premier League season.
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That would leave Antonio Conte with just Loic Remy and Michy Batshuayi as a his forward options for next season, but multiple reports claim the Blues will now make a big move for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morate and Torino’s Andrea Belotti.
Morata, 24, has long been admired by Conte and the Spanish international was said to be close to joining Chelsea last summer with Costa’s future uncertain back then. With Manchester United going all-in on Lukaku both Morata and Belotti are now available after both were heavily linked with a move to United so far this summer.
Now Belotti and/or Morata appear more likely to head to Chelsea.
Torino is said to want the full release clause in Belotti’s contract, which is $113 million, and their president is adamant the 23-year-old will not leave for less than that.
Morata seems ready to end his time at Real Madrid after being a bit-part player for Zinedine Zidane’s reigning European champs last season, and he may well be the cheaper of the two strikers with a fee of $96.7 million discussed. That said, it seems tough to believe Belotti will not be allowed to leave Torino if Chelsea offer a fee just below $100 million.
With Lukaku said to still want a return to Chelsea, the Blues may not be giving up on the big Belgian forward just yet. However, they appear to have plenty of other options lined up and the west London club must act fast to offload Costa and then bring in a true replacement who can guarantee 20-plus goals a season.
That’s the hard part.
Belotti is more powerful, Morata more technical, but both can finish with Belotti scoring 40 times in 74 games over the past two seasons at Torino. Morata managed 20 in 43 outings for Real last season, and during a two-year stint at Juventus he scored 27 goals in 93 games in all competitions. His hold-up play may well be better, but is Morata really the clinical finisher Chelsea need?
Anybody who questions the huge transfer fee of close to $100 million for Lukaku should understand just what guaranteeing 20-plus goals a season means to a team. That could well be the difference between finishing in fourth and winning the title.
That’s why Chelsea need this situation sorted, and fast.