Chelsea will reportedly launch an audacious swoop to sign their former forward Romelu Lukaku, who is starring for Everton this season, in the summer.
That’s according to Mike McGrath of the Sun, who has reported the Blues would have to part with a whopping £56 million to bring him back to Stamford Bridge.
Neil Moxley of the Sunday People (h/t the Daily Mirror) said Bayern Munich are also keen on the Toffees star and that they sent a senior club official to run the rule over him when Everton faced Aston Villa on Tuesday.
As noted by OptaJoe, Lukaku, who netted in a 3-2 loss against West Ham United on Saturday, is enjoying the best season of his career so far at Goodison Park:
18 - Romelu Lukaku has now scored more goals this season than in any previous Premier League campaign (18). Talent.3/5/2016, 3:17:52 PM
For Chelsea to bring him back to the club for such a massive amount would be startling. Lukaku joined Everton permanently for £28 million in the summer of 2014, with Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba perceived to be ahead of him in the pecking order. And after a tough 2014-15, the Belgian has really kicked on.
With Everton toiling under Roberto Martinez and unlikely to finish in a European spot, the Blues may well fancy their chances of getting him back. But the Toffees are unlikely to sell cheap, especially if other European juggernauts, such as Bayern, are interested in him too. Nor are they likely to be keen on selling to a divisional rival.
Additionally, the transfer wouldn’t reflect well on Chelsea, having had to shell out a massive amount to acquire a player who was on their books two years ago.
That may prompt the Blues into looking elsewhere for a new forward, and according to Moxley (h/t the Daily Mirror), Inter Milan man Mauro Icardi is also a target, with the club still possessing lingering concerns over the long-term future of Diego Costa.
“The 23-year-old Argentina star’s future at the San Siro is likely to rest on whether or not the club qualify for the Champions League next season, although Chelsea are unlikely to be able to offer that either,” noted Moxey.
Here is a look at what Icardi, who is more of a poacher than Lukaku, could offer if he heads to the Premier League:
Moxley suggested Atletico Madrid would like to re-sign Costa despite his recent return to prominence in a blue shirt, which means whoever takes over at Stamford Bridge from Guus Hiddink next season would be on the lookout for two new centre-forwards should the Spain international depart.
Icardi would definitely add something different to Costa. He’s primarily a player who comes alive inside the penalty area but doesn’t offer too much outside it, as we can see here, courtesy of WhoScored.com’s comparison between him and Juventus' Paulo Dybala:
GRAPHIC: Paulo Dybala vs Mauro Icardi #JuveInter https://t.co/Z9jjwAP6lr2/28/2016, 6:06:24 PM
Ultimately, what kind of forward Chelsea opt for is dependant on the man in the dugout. If the Blues are to play a direct, counter-attacking style under the new manager, Lukaku would be a perfect man to lead the line. A team who build meticulously and thread passes into the box would most likely benefit from Icardi’s instinctive style of play.
Most Chelsea fans will be hoping Costa sticks around, though, despite the allure of a return to Madrid, where he is adored. The forward is a menace at the point of the attack at full tilt, and while both of the targets mentioned are fine prospects, neither quite has it in them to be as effective as Costa on as consistent a basis quite yet.