Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has swelled speculation the club may yet complete a move to re-sign Romelu Lukaku by suggesting that further deals in and out of Stamford Bridge will be completed before the end of the summer transfer window. The Belgium international has been heavily linked with a return to west London since the end of last season, after netting 25 goals in all competitions.
The Evening Standard understands the 25-year-old, who moved to Goodison Park from the Blues on a permanent basis in July 2014, will hand in a transfer request to the Merseyside club in order to force through a move – despite the arrival of new boss Ronald Koeman. The same publication also reports that Conte's side are preparing a final £60m (€71.6m) offer for the striker, with Loic Remy featuring as a makeweight in the deal.
Conte has already made two significant signings in the form of Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante since his arrival at Chelsea, amid five arrivals at the club this summer. Six players have gone in the opposite direction including Mohamed Salah and Stipe Perica and the Italian coach has hinted strongly that further deals are to be expected.
"I think in the future something can happen with the transfer market, in and out," he said according to The Evening Standard. "We know that in the future, different changes can happen, both in and out, with the players."
Lukaku's return to Chelsea could coincide with Diego Costa leaving the club, just two seasons after he arrived in the Premier League. His former employers Atletico Madrid have flirted with the idea of bringing the Spain international back to La Liga, but Conte is adamant he will stay and could even return for the pre-season game against AC Milan after missing the warm-up matches against Liverpool and Real Madrid.
"Diego has recovered from his injury and now he is available for the game against AC Milan," he added, according to Sky Sports. "I will decide the formation, the starting XI. But he is available and I am very happy that I can count on him.
"Diego Costa is now Chelsea's player and for me this is the most important thing in this moment. We know in the future things can change, that can happen. It is an opportunity to see him play against AC Milan. I repeat, Diego is Chelsea's player and he is very happy to stay with us."