£38m target is “first order of business” for newly-arrived manager – Chelsea could finally bank cash

After what seemed to be some pretty nasty negotiations (we’d expect nothing less given the two parties involved), Antonio Conte and Napoli have reached an agreement to make the former Chelsea coach their manager.

The media haven’t wasted any time in going from that to speculation about what transfers he might want, and one pretty convincing thread to follow is heavily involved with Chelsea. The Evening Standard’s Nick Purewal today claims that Conte is making his “first order of business” a deal for Blues striker Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku is currently living a nomadic existence playing on loan for various teams, knowing he’s not welcome at Stamford Bridge. With Victor Osimhen set to leave Naples this summer, a new number 9 is needed, and Conte knows Lukaku well from their shared (and successful) time at Inter Milan.

Purewal’s piece says Chelsea would take £38m for Lukaku. But Napoli are famously tough in negotiations, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them dig in for a battle all summer. His 21 goals in 47 appearances for Roma this season, and his history with Conte, may persuade the Neapolitans that he’s worth it, however.

It would mean Lukaku has done the most Serie A thing possible – playing for 3 of the big 5. He’d just need a spell at Juventus and AC Milan to complete the set – and we wouldn’t rule out either, given his history.

Antonio Conte celebrates with Romelu Lukaku.

A swap deal still not on the cards

Of course the long term links between Chelsea and Osimhen have led to a lot of chatter that some kind of swap deal could be enacted, with both strikers getting the move they want and Chelsea paying the difference in value. But these swap deals are far too complex to work on this sort of scale, and the idea has already been shot down by a few sources.

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