Chelsea first summer signing: Five candidates
FootyOn look at the Chelsea first summer signing market and assess who that might be.
Premier League leaders Chelsea are in such a commanding position atop the table that plenty of tabloid column inches are dedicated to the future.
Blues boss Antonio Conte will surely strengthen the Stamford Bridge squad in the close season.
It’s virtually certain there is a European campaign to plan for; something Chelsea missed out on this term.
While the rumour mill has much to say about Eden Hazard’s future, speculation is also rife about arrivals.
Paddy Power have opened up a Chelsea first summer signing market, so that is worth a detailed look.
Our experts assess five potential candidates reportedly on their way to the Bridge and who to put your money on!
Everton boast the Premier League’s leading marksman in big Belgium frontman Lukaku, who has unfinished business at Chelsea.
Unable to oust Blues legend Didier Drogba and £50m flop Fernando Torres as a teenager, he left the Bridge twice on loan before a permanent departure to Goodison Park.
Lukaku is now linked with a £70m move back to Chelsea because of rumoured doubts surrounding Diego Costa’s future.
Given regular football, he has flourished at the Toffees and broken the 20-goal barrier in the Premier League this term.
Lethal Lukaku is an expensive mistake, but is the 5/1 joint-favourite to be the Blues’ next permanent signing.
PSG attacking midfielder Pastore is a rumoured possible makeweight if Chelsea cash in on Costa, according to reports.
The former Palermo playmaker retains huge ability, but the spotlight surrounds other South American stars at the Parc des Princes.
Uruguay frontman Edinson Cavani, Brazil’s Lucas Moura and fellow Argentina attacker Angel Di Maria are all big names at PSG.
A spot on one of the flanks on the Blues’ 3-4-3 system Conte uses is possible for Pastore.
He is quoted at 6/1 in the Chelsea first summer signing market.
Staying with South American attackers, Arsenal and Chile forward Sanchez has shown visible signs of frustration on the pitch this season.
Quotes attributed to the Gunners star turn now say he’s happy in London, but he wants to play for a team with “a winning mentality”.
Sanchez only has to look across the capital to see that in spades at the Bridge, though Arsene Wenger has tried to scotch speculaiton.
Capable up front or on the wing, Sanchez’s versatility and quality of movement in attack would add another dimension to the Blues.
Those South American stars keep on coming, as reports from Spain claim the Blues would demand Colombia attacker Rodriguez to go the other way in any Real Madrid deal involving Hazard.
Every forward option at the Bernabeu takes a backseat to Galactico in chief Cristiano Ronaldo, though James has made a dozen assists across all competitions this season.
A former World Cup Golden Boot winner would be a coup capture for Chelsea, and Conte has used a playmaker before.
If the Blues are to part with Hazard, then getting something in return is certainly consolation and this cannot be discounted.
Odds of 7/1 are available on James in the Chelsea first summer signing market.
Virgil van Dijk
Dutch defender Van Dijk is now reportedly in pole position to join the Blues, who are apparently prepared to send compatriot Nathan Ake to St Mary’s.
Although currently injured, Southampton’s latest star has already put in eye-catching performances in big games.
Chelsea club captain John Terry is out of contract at the end of the season, and there are question marks about Kurt Zouma’s future too.
Saints centre half Van Dijk is ideal for one of Conte’s back three options for next season.
This betting market is unique and that’s part of the appeal.
Blues boss Conte could well reshape his squad from back to front, as Italians are sticklers for defensive strength.
Van Dijk looks a worthy principal in the Chelsea first summer signing market.