Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea career is at an end with Everton set to announce his signing on a permanent transfer at a press conference on Wednesday. While negotiations are thought to have been held up in recent days as Chelsea held out for £30 million, the Liverpool Echo reports that a deal has been done for a fee of £25 million.
Lukaku has been at Stamford Bridge for three years after being snapped up from Anderlecht for £17 million. It was thought then that he would be the natural replacement for a man with which he has often been compared, Didier Drogba. After starting just one Premier League game in his first season, the powerful front man spent a season on loan at West Brom and then Everton, scoring a combined 30 league goals.
Yet his chances of been handed a starting berth at Chelsea have long looked slim. After a supposed falling out with José Mourinho last year over Lukaku’s desire for first-team action, Chelsea signed Diego Costa and then brought Drogba back to the club this summer. The 21-year-old has also been linked with Atletico Madrid, but he is now set to move back to Merseyside on a permanent basis. Earlier on Wednesday, the Belgium international posted a picture of himself on Instagram on a flight back to England accompanied by the words, “Time to write a new chapter…”
Lukaku may not be the last player through the Stamford Bridge exit door this summer. According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are considering selling Petr Cech in order to help them meet homegrown player quotas for the Premier League and Champions League. The departure of Lukaku would not help that goal, with his age meaning that he does not need to be registered.
There has been much discussion about Cech’s future after it was decided that Thibaut Courtois would be returning to Chelsea following three years at Atletico Madrid in which he established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers. Courtois repeatedly stated that he would not return to Chelsea to be second choice, although his own future has come under scrutiny after he was not allocated a squad number by Chelsea.
The money received for Lukaku could enable Mourinho to reenter the transfer market. After signing Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis, it may be a center-back that is now targeted. And once again Chelsea may be focusing their attention on Atletico Madrid. Spanish publication Marca has reported that Chelsea are looking to take a third player form the Spanish champions this summer and have opened talks over a prospective €25 million (£20m) transfer for Miranda.
The Brazilian, 29, was one of Europe’s best defenders last season and a key part not only of Atletico’s La Liga title triumph but also their run to the Champions League final. Young French defender Kurt Zouma has joined up with Chelsea following his signing in January, but the exit of David Luiz and Tomáš Kalas’ loan move to Cologne arguably leaves the Blues short of options.
Previously Chelsea have also been linked with a transfer for Roma’s Mehdi Benatia. The Morocco international had a superb first season in the Italian capital to help his side to second in Serie A. But Roma have again insisted that he is staying put.
“Benatia? I don't know if there was a communication problem, but I want to make it clear that he has never been for sale, we have never received offers nor are we entering into negotiations,” Roma president James Pallotta said, reports Sky Sports. “Mehdi is our player and he will be for this season, he is very important for us on and off the field.”