Chelsea target two new centre-backs after Raphinha deal, as Lukaku arrives in Milan

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Chelsea’s new era under Todd Boehly has dramatically stepped up a gear with a number of key moves in the transfer market – with big deals both in and out of the London club.

Romelu Lukaku has touched down in Italy ahead of his move back to Inter Milan, with the club-record signing making room for some much-need defensive reinforcements with several players targeted.

Boehly is busy making moves

AFP

Boehly is busy making moves

Lukaku has arrived in Milan ahead of his transfer back to Inter, after his failed £98.5million return to Chelsea

Sky Sports

Lukaku has arrived in Milan ahead of his transfer back to Inter, after his failed £98.5million return to Chelsea

Some eyebrows were raised when American billionaire Boehly named himself interim sporting director, taking over from the hugely successful Marina Granovskaia, but he has quickly got to work.

Snaring Leeds winger Raphinha from London rivals Arsenal, the Blues have agreed a deal in the region of £60million for the Brazilian, massively upgrading their attack ahead of the new season.

That deal comes in part thanks to Lukaku’s loan return to Inter Milan, with the Serie A side covering his full wages for the upcoming campaign.

Arriving in Milan on Tuesday, Lukaku – draped once again in blue and black – said: “I’m too happy to be here.”

Chelsea fans could well be feeling the same way with Boehly continuing to make moves.

The departures of Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona have left giant gaps at the back for the Blues, but a number of targets have now been identified.

Chelsea are in desperate need of recruits after losing Rudiger and Christensen

Chelsea are in desperate need of recruits after losing Rudiger and Christensen

Koulibaly could soon swap the blue of Napoli for Chelsea

Getty

Koulibaly could soon swap the blue of Napoli for Chelsea


The club have been pursuing Sevilla’s France international Jules Kounde for the past year, with interest in Matthijs de Ligt also emerging.

However, there’s now been two new names added.

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reports that Napoli captain Kalidou Koulibaly is being discussed by the Blues.

The Africa Cup of Nations champion with Senegal is said to have been made available on the market this summer after he snubbed a new contract with Napoli.

Koulibaly was once one of European football’s most coveted centre-backs, but decided to stay in Naples despite interested from a host of elite clubs – including from the Premier League.

Now 31, reports in Italy claim the defender has decided to move on, with his club willing to sell for the right price this summer, or lose him for nothing when he becomes a free agent in 2023.

Nathan Ake is said to be another target for the Blues, who are reportedly interested in re-signing the Dutchman five years after his Stamford Bridge departure.

Ake could soon be back in a Chelsea shirt

Getty

Ake could soon be back in a Chelsea shirt

Ake spent seven years as a Chelsea player, joining the London club at the age of 15.

After loans with Reading, Watford and Bournemouth, he was sold permanently to the Cherries in 2017 for a club-record £20million.

Chelsea had a buy-back clause inserted in that deal, but that no longer exists after City bought him for £41m in 2020.

Ake, now 27, has won two Premier League titles since joining Pep Guardiola’s side but has struggled to nail down a regular place in the team, being restricted to just 40 appearances across two full seasons.

It is claimed he would be willing to leave for more regular game time, with return to Chelsea now on the cards.

It is believed that he would be open to a return, having failed to nail down a regular starting position at the Etihad.

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