After months of speculation linking former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku with a return to Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho appears to have had revenge on his former club, with Manchester United confirming a deal for the Belgian star in the past few days.
Chelsea fans will be wary of the fact that Antonio Conte abruptly left Juventus after three successful years, citing his frustration at not being backed in the transfer market, and the next couple of weeks could prove critical in appeasing the combustive Italian.
With Diego Costa almost certain to leave after reportedly being informed by Conte that he was no longer part of the club’s plans, we look at some of the options Chelsea have in the transfer market as they look for a top striker to lead the line next season…
6. Alvaro Morata – Real Madrid
The Real Madrid star is also a long-term Man Utd target, and following reports that the Red Devils may also be making headway in a deal for long-term Chelsea target Tiemoue Bakayoko, the Blues will be desperate not to lose out on a top target to United once again.
Chelsea have reportedly made a £62m bid for the Spain international, who scored an impressive 20 goals in 42 appearances for Los Meringues last season, despite limited opportunities in Zinedine Zidane’s side.
5. Andrea Belotti – Torino
Andrea Belotti has had a superb season at Torino, scoring 26 league goals and contributing 7 assists as I Granata finished 9th in Serie A. Antonio Conte is said to be a big fan of the striker, though the Chelsea heirarchy may be reluctant to meet Torino’s £88m valuation of the forward, after failing to compete financially with United for Lukaku.
In recent weeks, Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has voiced his admiration for the imposing striker and has tipped him as a superior option to Real’s Alvaro Morata:
“I thought that considering the type of qualities Costa has, that Belotti was the perfect fit.
“Morata is a little bit different, he’s more of a finesse player…He hasn’t got the presence of a player like Costa in the box.
“I thought that considering the type of qualities Costa has, that Belotti was the perfect fit.”
4. Fernando Llorente – Swansea City
Antonio Conte reportedly tried to bring the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge on loan in January as back-up for Diego Costa, following the 32-year-old’s eye-catching performances for the south Wales club.
The former Juventus striker’s 15 goals and superb hold-up play were instrumental as Swansea manager Paul Clement masterminded The Swans’ last gasp Premier League survival.
But though Llorente’s experience and strength in the air would benefit any side, at 32, many will question whether the former Atletico Bilbao youth player can be relied upon to lead the line for the Blues next season.
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Dortmund
Aubameyang was superb for Dortmund last term scoring an incredible 31 league goals and pipping Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski to the Torjägerkanone on the final day of the season.
According to a Marca report, Chelsea are currently in talks with the Dortmund forward in a deal that could set the Premier League champions back over £62m.
However, the 28-year-old’s phenomenal scoring record has made him a target for a number of top European clubs including Paris Saint-Germain this summer, and securing the Gabon superstar would be a huge statement of intent at Stamford Bridge.
2. Moussa Dembele – Celtic
Moussa Dembele was on fire for Celtic last season, scoring 32 goals in 46 games as The Hoops finished the season unbeaten. His dynamic performances have caught the attention of a number of clubs including West Ham and Chelsea, and the former Fulham starlet could be a strong option for the Blues next season.
However, at just 20-year-old, and with all of his experience so far coming in the Championship for Fulham and in the Scottish League, the former Paris Saint-Germain youngster may not be ready to fill Costa’s shoes, with the added strain of Champions League football looming for the Premier League champions.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Free Agent
Stranger things have happened! Ibra is currently recovering from a cruciate injury which ended his first Premier League season back in April. But though the former Sweden international is continuing his recovery at United’s Carrington training ground, reports suggest the former Barcelona striker won’t be offered a new contract at Man Utd for next season.
Zlatan’s thirst for success seems only to have increased in recent years, with the charismatic forward still keen to improve on his 33 professional titles. Should Chelsea miss out on their high-profile targets, Zlatan could be exactly the kind of imposing presence in the opposition box the Blues need.