Chelsea risk falling behind rivals as Lukaku and Kounde frustrations set worrying tone

Who could replace Lukaku at Chelsea?

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Chelsea could risk falling even further behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool if they fail to meet their objectives over the course of the summer transfer window. The Blues are expected to spend heavily to improve their playing squad over the coming weeks and months, with new owner Todd Boehly set to hand Thomas Tuchel a nine-figure budget to use as he sees fit.

However, Chelsea are yet to rubber-stamp any new signings in spite of their best efforts with just seven weeks until the new Premier League season gets underway. They are said to be chasing the addition of at least one new central defender to replace Antonio Rudiger, who recently joined Real Madrid on a free transfer, while Andreas Christensen is reportedly set to sign for Barcelona in the not-too-distant future.

Chelsea are long-term admirers of Jules Kounde and tried to sign him last summer, but ultimately fell short after failing to agree on a transfer fee with Sevilla. It seems as though a similar outcome could be awaiting the Blues this time around, with the Frenchman facing a race against time to be fit for the new campaign after picking up an injury while on international duty earlier this week.

Sevilla are thought to be open to the idea of selling Kounde, who reportedly agreed personal terms with Chelsea during initial talks a year ago. However, if the Blues fail to push a move for the 23-year-old over the line, it could see them fall adrift of City, Liverpool and even Tottenham when the action gets back underway in early August.

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All three of the aforementioned clubs have already moved to strengthen their ranks by signing a number of exciting players over the last few weeks. Chelsea appear to be missing the boat, though, and will be desperate to make things happen in the market between now and the start of next season in order to avoid dropping down the Premier League’s pecking order in the near future.

The Blues also seem to be struggling in their efforts to get rid of Romelu Lukaku, who is keen on rejoining Inter Milan after just one season at Stamford Bridge. The Italian giants are currently locked in talks with Chelsea over a temporary move for the forward but it remains to be seen whether Lukaku’s current employers will be able to recoup a decent loan fee for his services.

Allowing Lukaku to leave the club on loan would also mean that Tuchel would be forced to dip into the market for another striker to rotate with Kai Havertz at the top of the pitch. The Chelsea boss has already conceded that he is unsure what the summer window will hold for the two-time European champions, who will be forced to play catch-up to the other sides at the top of the Premier League after their transfer restrictions were finally lifted at the end of last month.

“We don’t really know what’s going to happen,” said Tuchel when quizzed on his plans for the market earlier this year. “If we are able to sell, do we want to sell, do we have a chance to get alternatives?

“The situation is not only for us as the ones responsible for the rebuild and for transfers, it’s also for the players a strange situation. You could feel it over a long period of time.”

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