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Chelsea are reportedly ready to try and bring Everton centre-forward Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge if they choose to replace unsettled striker Diego Costa.

Lukaku, who officially left Chelsea for Goodison Park in 2014, is one of three strikers the Premier League leaders are considering to replace Costa. The other two are Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, according to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.

A lot will depend on whether Costa is still thought to be keen on leaving Chelsea. If so, the Blues may take advantage of Lukaku‘s situation at Everton, per Lewis:

The West Londoners’ interest in Lukaku last summer was rejected by Everton but they have also yet to tie the Belgium international—who is keen on a return to Chelsea, his first English club—down to a new deal.

Lukaku, still just 23, has scored 18 goals in 25 appearances for club and country this season. His agent, Mino Raiola, has refused to rule out a summer exit, even if he signs a new contract before then.

Lukaku‘s willingness to return to the Bridge is good news for Chelsea considering the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Costa. Tensions have risen since Costa had a dispute with manager Antonio Conte and some of the club’s fitness coaches, according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.

There have been rumours of a possible move to the Chinese Super League. Indeed, Tianjin Quanjian owner Shu Yuhui recently confirmed he’d discussed a deal for Costa, per Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard:

However, things may have thawed between Costa and his manager after the pair met today at Chelsea’s training ground, according to Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News HQ:

If Costa can’t be made content in the long run, though, Lukaku would make an excellent replacement. The 23-year-old is a terrific link player with the size and pace to not only play with his back to goal but also spin behind markers and stretch a defence.

Those skills have led to 13 goals this season, including 12 in England’s top flight, per

Chelsea didn’t always appreciate Lukaku‘s quality during his first stint at the club. He was sent on loan spells to both West Bromwich Albion and the Toffees before moving to Merseyside on a permanent basis.

However, the Blues would surely welcome Lukaku with open arms in the event Costa moves on this summer.


Chelsea Scout Italian Full-Back

One position Conte can fix now is full-back. Perhaps that’s why Chelsea are reportedly scouting Atalanta ace Andrea Conti, according to Italian source (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star).

The reports also detailed how Conte is attracting interest from a host of other clubs as well. His list of suitors is said to include Atletico Madrid, as well as Serie A trio Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli.

Still just 22, Conti is already an accomplished defender, one who would bolster a suspect position for Chelsea.

Is Lukaku the right man to replace Costa?

The Blues have depth issues at full-back, with Brazilian Kenedy possibly leaving the club this month. He is being linked with a loan switch to Flamengo, per ESPN Brazil (h/t Metro‘s Chris Davie).

In fact, Costa appeared to wish Kenedy well on the move after commenting on a video the South American posted on Instagram, according to Tom Olver of Metro.

Conte would be wise to strengthen his depth behind wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. The duo are crucial in Conte‘s 3-4-3 formation, a structure that’s seen full-back Cesar Azpilicueta convert to central defender.

Conte and the Blues are right to look for more options at such a key position.

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