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Antonio Conte makes Everton ace Romelu Lukaku top transfer target

Chelsea's champions-elect manager Antonio Conte has told the club's owners he wants them to make a record move for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku his priority this summer.
Romelu Lukaku (left) playing against old club Chelsea at Goodison Park last weekend
Conte, whose side will clinch the title if they defeat Middlesbrough and West Brom this week, has made it clear Lukaku is vital to his future plans even though he might cost double the £28million Chelsea received for him when they sold him to Everton in 2014.


With Diego Costa's future uncertain amidst interest from China, Conte wants the key No 9 position to be sorted early and even if Costa stays, Lukaku will get enough game-time with the club returning to the Champions League.
Conte is adamant he will not rest on his laurels even after Chelsea land the title. The highly-motivated coach won three consecutive Serie A titles in charge of Juventus before taking the Italian national team job.
Lukaku wins a header while playing for the Toffees against Swansea City on Saturday
Lukaku, 23, failed to score in 15 appearances for Chelsea at the beginning of his career but attracted a huge fee after successful loan spells at West Brom and Everton, who then signed him on a permanent basis.

The Belgian international is currently the Premier League's leading scorer and has also been linked with Manchester United as a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But Conte, who also likes Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, believes he has credit in the bank after guiding Chelsea to a potential Double while allowing the club to cash in on the sale of Oscar who left for Chinese club Shanghai SIPG in a £60m deal.
Conte is also likely to ask for Chelsea to chase his former Juventus centre half Leonardo Bonucci and will fight Juve for Paris St Germain midfielder Marco Verratti while Emenalo has previously pushed for centre halves such as Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibay, as well as being convinced of the merits of Lukaku, whom he originally brought to the club in 2011.

With English clubs now struggling to make an impression in Europe's premier tournament, Conte declined to say whether he felt Chelsea could buck the trend this season but hinted that significant recruitment would be necessary.

'I like to speak with my club about this and to tell my opinion to my club,' he said. 'It's not important to tell my opinion through the papers.

'The first step must be to speak with the club and tell my opinion about this season and the next season, and to find the right solution to be more competitive. Then to face the situation, to sell or to buy, new players.

'Next season we play the Champions League, and it's great for us. A team like Chelsea, the Champions League must be their home, and they must try to play in it every season. It won't be easy in England, because I think in this league you have six teams very strong, very strong.

'It won't be easy, the present and the future, to play the Champions League. But for sure now it's important to finish this season and then find the right solution, to prepare our team to face next season.'

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