Inside Football: Chelsea Want to Sign Icardi or Lukaku
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Chelsea are in the market for a new striker this summer as Antonio Conte attempts to prepare his side for next season’s Champions League campaign.
Romelu Lukaku has been linked with a move back to Stamford Bridge, and the latest update from Matt Law of the Telegraph indicates that the Belgian forward wants the transfer to go ahead.
A deal for Lukaku will not be straightforward, though, as Everton will hold out for huge money. So this week in Inside Football I discuss the Mauro Icardi-shaped back-up plan that is being put in place.
I also report on ambitious Bournemouth as they plot to unite John Terry and Jermain Defoe, while Vincent Kompany’s future at Manchester City also looks uncertain.
There is also news from Egyptian side Zamalek and Turkish outfit Beisktas.
Chelsea Back-Up Plan If Lukaku Proves Impossible
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Chelsea realise a move for Lukaku is going to be tough, so it is no surprise to know that other forward options remain open for next season.
Sources close to Everton are convinced the club will only let Lukaku leave if a world-record transfer fee is agreed, and with two years remaining on his contract, the player will have a fight on his hands if he does want to leave Goodison Park.
With that in mind, Chelsea also have Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi on the radar.
He is a different type of front man to Lukaku, but with Diego Costa’s future uncertain in London, I’m told a pursuit of Icardi is seen as important at this stage.
Icardi has scored 21 goals from 30 Serie A appearances this season but also has a contract that runs to 2021 and is enjoying life at the San Siro.
That means he could prove just as difficult to sign as Lukaku, but Chelsea will make every attempt to line up an elite striker early on in the transfer window so want to get an understanding of where they stand.
But a spending spree is being planned at Chelsea, and huge cash will become available to help Conte land top targets.
Interestingly, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is another man who has been discussed by club officials at Stamford Bridge.
Cherries to Help Defoe’s World Cup Dream
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Bournemouth are looking to add experience to their squad over the summer, and that could see Defoe lining up in their attack with Terry in defence.
We revealed Terry’s interest in a switch to the south coast here, and the ongoing pursuit of Defoe is intriguing.
He is believed to be open to the idea of a return to the club where he had a hugely successful time on loan at the start of his career.
Defoe will leave Sunderland on a free transfer, and despite interest from West Ham United and Crystal Palace, I’m told he is leaning towards Bournemouth as his top choice of club.
One interesting factor in the chase to sign Defoe and Terry is the role of former Sky Sports presenter Andy Burton, who is now working as senior recruitment consultant at Bournemouth.
He has built a decent relationship with both players, so his influence could prove important as they attempt to land the duo.
City Look for New Kompany
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Vincent Kompany seemed to epitomise everything Manchester City’s defence has been lacking with his performance in a win over Southampton.
However, I hear Pep Guardiola still will not consider him as a main figure for his side going forward due to the fact he can not rely on him staying fit for long stretches of the season.
Kompany, of course, wants more game time, and there remains a possibility he will leave City in the summer.
One of the clubs linked with a move for the 31-year-old defender is West Ham, but my information is that the transfer would prove difficult.
The Hammers have already looked into a move for City’s Bacary Sagna as part of their right-back hunt, but they have dismissed the idea of signing him due to the figures involved.
Kompany would command a higher wage than his team-mate, so on those grounds it would appear very unlikely West Ham will entertain the idea of getting him on board.
Zamalek Check out Colchester Star
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Colchester United’s Richard Brindley is emerging as a target for Egyptian side Zamalek.
Brindley, 23, is out of contract in the summer and has been attracting interest from some Championship and League One clubs.
However, the more fascinating news comes from Zamalek, where interest has been aroused by the fact the player has Egyptian parentage.
The attacking right-back, who began his career with Norwich City, would be able to join Zamalek on a free transfer, and it is understood they have begun looking into the possibility of making him an offer.
Besiktas Pair Wanted in England
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Besiktas pair Oguzhan Ozyakup and Anderson Talisca continue to attract a huge amount of attention from English scouts.
Clubs including Everton, Southampton, West Ham, Manchester United and Tottenham will have representatives at the Europa League quarter-final against Lyon, where the Turkish club trail 2-1 from the first leg.
West Ham, Arsenal and Liverpool have also been checking on them throughout the course of the season.
Talisca is the team’s talisman. He takes the set pieces and is a nightmare to deal with for opposition defenders due to his lethal long-range shot.
Ozyakup, who used to play for Arsenal, pulls the strings in midfield and is key for launching counter-attacking moves.