If reports on Sunday morning are to be believed, Chelsea are set to be one of the Premier League’s busiest clubs in the last two weeks of the window.
The Blues have already spent £65m to bring in N’Golo Kanté and Michy Batshuayi from Leicester and Marseille respectively, but the Express are of the opinion that the total amount spend could be around £200m before the transfer window closes on August 31st.
The first name mentioned is Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. Chelsea have already had one bid rejected to re-sign the Belgian international, having sold him for £28m two years ago, as the Toffees look to hold out for £75m for the forward.
Lukaku missed out in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham yesterday having failed to regain full fitness in time to feature, and while manager Ronald Koeman was quick to point out that his absence had nothing to do with Chelsea’s interest, he has recently admitted that he could be ultimately be powerless to keep him if he wants to rejoin his former club.
The battle to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, meanwhile, rages on. The Italian side insist that the Senegalese international will not be allowed to leave the San Paolo for less than £50m. Everton were also interested in the player, but were not prepared to go above £35m.
However, Conte accepts that Chelsea need defensive reinforcements, and the more he accepts that they are going to have to overpay for players in the inflated market, the more likely he is to agree to pay such a high price for a defender that may not necessarily be worth it.
Koulibaly himself has made no secret of the fact that he wants to move, so while a deal may be done for less than £50m (or at least that’s what Chelsea will be hoping), it would not be a surprise to see the 25-year-old move to Stamford Bridge within the next fortnight.
The final, and probably the most straightforward, transfer is that of Brazilian youngster Thiago Maia. The 19-year-old midfielder is currently in action with the Brazilian national side at the Olympics in his homeland, and the general consensus is that Conte will instigate talks with the highly-rated Santos player after the tournament.
The one complication surrounding the deal is that Barcelona are also reported to be interested, nonetheless Chelsea will feel confident that they can recruit Maia for a fee of around £15m before September.
The terms of the deal are likely to be similar to that of new Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus, insofar as the player will return to Santos on loan until the Brazilian season finishes at the end of this year.
Conte’s first competitive match in charge of Chelsea will occur on Monday night, as his side take on West Ham in their Premier League opener at Stamford Bridge.