Even for a team with financial clout like Chelsea, a £32 million forward is not likely to be behind anybody in the striking pecking order.
That’s the amount that the Blues have reportedly splashed out on Diego Costa, per Adam Crafton of the Mail Online, and he’s the player that Jose Mourinho looks to have chosen to lead the line for Chelsea’s upcoming campaign.
Naturally, this will lead the strikers currently at the club to ponder some questions regarding their own future. Sure, Chelsea will be competing for both domestic and European trophies and Mourinho will have to rotate his squad accordingly, but with Costa around, the rest of the forwards know they won’t be first choice.
It’s no surprise that a host of the Blues’ other forwards have been linked with potential moves away from Stamford Bridge. Here’s the very latest on a couple of players who may have donned Chelsea blue for the last time.
Romelu Lukaku Hints At Move To Rivals
The Belgian forward has enjoyed successive spells on loan at both West Brom and Everton, and despite impressing in both, it remains uncertain as to whether or not the player has a future at Stamford Bridge.
When the 21-year-old was quizzed on his future following Belgium’s World Cup exit at the hands of Argentina, he insisted that he hasn’t spoken to anyone at Chelsea since he went out on loan to Merseyside and that his long-term destination is something he’d have to mull over, per Metro:
I have a few ideas but we’ll see. I have to think about it.
I want to be somewhere where I can play my best football and hopefully win titles. There are choices to make. Things like that happen in football and I’m confident I will make the right choice.
Lukaku scored 15 league goals for Everton for last season, per WhoScored.com, and his all-round game noticeably improved under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez. But rumours about his future have always been prevalent, and there’s a belief growing amongst Chelsea supporters that Mourinho just simply doesn’t fancy Lukaku.
He is a player that impressed in glimpses during the World Cup, most notably when he came off the bench to help win the game for his country against the United States, as noted here by Opta:
4 - Romelu Lukaku (30 minutes played) had 4 shots on target (out of 4, 1 goal) vs #USA, the most of all Belgian players in the match. Sharp.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 1, 2014
According to the aforementioned piece, both Spurs and Arsenal are keen on signing the player, and if either were able to construct a deal with their London rivals then it’d be a major coup. The Belgian is still a little rough around the edges, but he is still young and still capable of maturing into a top quality front man.
If Mourinho doesn’t want Lukaku, you suspect that there will be plenty of managers more than happy to take him off Chelsea’s hands.
Demba Ba Wage Demands Could Scupper Everton Move
Having reaped the benefits of taking Lukaku on loan for a season, the Toffees could be set to repeat the trick with another Chelsea striker.
According to Simon Jones of the Mail Online, Everton have held early discussions with the Londoners about taking Ba on loan for next season. Jones’ piece insists that while Martinez has yet to give up on bringing Lukaku back to Goodison Park, the Merseyside outfit have also enquired about the prospect of bringing the former Newcastle United man to the club too.
But with Ba currently picking up £80,000 at Chelsea, Jones suggests that the two parties are some distance apart when it comes to personal terms.
If Everton were unable to secure the signing of Lukaku then Ba could potentially be a very smart capture. Like Lukaku, the Senegalese international is a player with real physicality, and while Ba may not be as dynamic as Lukaku, he is currently a lot more astute when it comes to holding up the ball and bringing others into play.
Taking another forward on loan would also allow Everton to splash the money they received from the sales of Marouane Fellaini, Victor Anichebe and Nikica Jelavic on other areas of the squad; something that will be vital for Martinez's men as they prepare to embark on a European campaign.
From a Chelsea point of view, getting Ba’s wages off the weekly bill would represent a shrewd move. Admittedly he is a player that made some vital contributions for Chelsea towards the end of last season, but he remains a bit-part figure in this current set up. With Costa's signing imminent, unfortunately for him, that looks unlikely to change.