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Who’s the man to replace Costa?

| 01.07.2017

We look at the options open to Conte

We’re now well into the summer, and Diego Costa remains a Chelsea player – but it shouldn’t be for much longer, with relations between player and manager Antonio Conte said to be at an all-time low.

Costa spoke to the press recently about his treatment at the hands of the club, telling fans he remains a Chelsea player, but the Londoners do not want him, and he was informed by text that his time at the bridge was over. Confirming what fans had feared all along, the 28-year-old says his relationship with the boss has been bad all season.

We’re sure there’s right and wrong on both sides, and Costa’s not the victim he’d have you believe. So, with The Blues now in need of a proven goal scorer to defend their title next season, and see them challenge in the Champions League, we look at some of the names in the frame.

Lukaku features in Coral's bet of the day, with is a Sunderland v Everton matchday special.

Lukaku would return a better player

Romelu Lukaku is believed to be on his way back to Chelsea, and although he’s not the big-name fans would’ve been hoping for, the Belgian can be trusted to get them goals in the Premier League and domestic cups, at least. 24-year-old Lukaku was a sensation at Everton last season, but sees his future away from Goodison Park, believing he has fired himself to bigger and better things. The striker is a former Chelsea employee, of course, and it’ll stick in the throat of some fans that they will have to spend big to get him back, but they’ll be getting a better player than the one flogged to The Toffees in 2014. Lukaku came agonisingly close to finishing last season as the league’s top scorer.

Andrea Belotti scorer odds bet of the day

Zola predicts big things for Belotti

Chelsea great Gianfranco Zola offered his views on who the club should replace Costa with as they bid for two-in-a-row. The little Italian put forward the name of fellow countryman Andrea Belotti, currently on the books at Torino. That doesn’t look a bad shout either. 23-year-old Belotti has been capped for Italy at every level from U19 to the senior squad, and is seen as a real talent for the future in his homeland. The Londoners will face stiff competition if they are to follow Zola’s advice however, with Man City and Man Utd said to be interested. Zola going public will only crank up the pressure on that one. On Belotti, Gianfranco told Chelsea fans he thinks the player can go and do great things in England.

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Icardi would be worth every penny

Roman Abramovich’s cheque book would take a hammering on this one, with the striker thought to be valued at around £100m, but Mauro Icardi is shaping like a star who would be worth every penny. At only 24 years old, the Argentine is yet to hit his peak, but his talent is already frightening. Conte will know all too well what Icardi brings to the table, and he boasts many of Diego Costa’s attributes, but has been blessed with more speed than the Spaniard. It would take a monumental effort to get him to Chelsea, but if they can convince the player to join up with the likes of Hazard, The Blues will be even better than they were last season. One for the fans’ wish-list, but you never know.

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Frank Monkhouse