Chelsea fans have been left unimpressed by their club’s transfer business so far during the close season, but things are about to get even worse.
After the Premier League champions were beaten to the signature of £100m-rated Everton striker Romelu Lukaku by Manchester United, the London Evening Standard have revealed who Antonio Conte was now targeting to lead his Blues’ forward line next term.
Let us be blunt: it’s not great. Chelsea are now said to have reignited their interest in £16.5m-rated Swansea forward Fernando Llorente.
Llorente was a January target for Chelsea as Conte looked for ample back up to Diego Costa – who is still allegedly set on leaving the Londoners – but the Spain international could become the fulcrum of Chelsea’s attack in 2017/18 if a report from the Evening Standard is to be taken as gospel.
The 32-year-old has entered the final 12 months of his deal at the Liberty Stadium and, while Swansea boss Paul Clement will be desperate to hang on to his star striker, he may not be able to prevent Llorente’s departure if a suitable offer is made.
Conte himself has been left furious by Chelsea’s glacial attempts to strengthen his first-team squad ahead of their top flight title defence, and the Italian has only been able to welcome ex-Manchester City back up keeper Willy Caballero to the club so far this summer.
His anger will have failed to dissipate after number one target Lukaku was poached from under his side’s noses by ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, and United are now on the cusp of completing a reported £90m deal to bring the striker to Old Trafford.
With Lukaku out of reach, Conte has turned his attentions to prising Llorente away from south Wales to provide a platform for his players to build their attacks from.
Llorente, who is nursing a broken arm sustained during an accident on holiday, would find it hard to say no to a move to Stamford Bridge, but his arrival would be met by an extremely lukewarm reaction from Chelsea’s fanbase given who they could have signed.