Chelsea boss Antonio Conte ‘could quit’ over transfer failings as Man United go for Romelu Lukaku instead of Alvaro Morata
For a man who gets apoplectic with rage on the touchline just because his team have incorrectly conceded a throw-in, the mind boggles at the levels of annoyance being experienced by Antonio Conte – and those spending time with Antonio Conte – right now.
“Fuming” is how the Mirror puts it, although this possibly understates the fiery Italian’s response to his year-long move for Romelu Lukaku being hijacked by Manchester United.
The Everton striker is, it seems, on his way to Old Trafford for £75m. Even the Guardian, which until yesterday evening was maintaining that Chelsea were ready to “step up their interest” in the player who everyone thought was theirs, reports today that the Belgian is expected to join the United squad as early as Sunday for their USA pre-season tour.
Chelsea had previously believed they were in “pole position” to get Lukaku. So did he, talking about “unfinished business” at Stamford Bridge and stating that he “knew” where he would be playing next.
And so did Conte. The Mirror says the Blues manager was “desperate” to sign the centre-forward and “was making tactical plans for next season with Lukaku in his starting line-up”. (This is actually starting to sound a bit tragic now.)
Add this to the Blues’ failure to sign Alexis Sanchez and Virgil van Dijk, in addition to their alleged “struggles” in sealing deals for Alex Sandro and Tiemoue Bakayoko, and a picture emerges of Conte as a man being pushed to the brink.
The question is whether he is angry enough to walk out on the Premier League champions. And the Mirror says that yes, he is.
The other question is whether signing Fernando Llorente from Swansea can make everything better? And the answer to that, presumably, is no.
They are buying him anyway though, according to the Express, which reports that a cut-price deal for the 32-year-old Spaniard is “almost done”. That’s despite the player breaking his arm while cycling on a family holiday last week, but arms aren’t that important for playing football really.
Another man who may be feeling miffed about this Lukaku news is Alvaro Morata, who was so keen to join Man Utd that he even flew home from his honeymoon last week to “speed up” a deal.
It evidently didn’t work, and the Sun says the Real Madrid striker has been “left in limbo” by Lukaku’s impending move to Old Trafford, and they’re not referring to the dance competition he entered at the all-inclusive resort on his holiday.
Real would apparently be willing to flog Morata to Chelsea for £66m though. Is this the solution that could keep everyone happy? Almost certainly not.