Antonio Conte wants reunion with Chelsea outcast at Napoli – report – Sportstimes.info
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Antonio Conte wants reunion with Chelsea outcast at Napoli – report

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The player in question is Romelu Lukaku, who remains on the books at Stamford Bridge despite not kicking a ball for the club in just over two years. For Napoli, it would represent a new chapter after potentially cashing in on Victor Osimhen ahead of next season.

Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Conte was in touch with Lukaku over a reunion before Napoli announced his appointment. The Belgian is considered the “first name” the club will target to strengthen up front and is described as “always the striker in Antonio Conte’s mind”.

Lukaku has a contract with Chelsea until 2026 but is not expected to be reintegrated under the leadership of new manager Enzo Maresca. At 31 years of age, he is available for £38m.

Conte has had enormous success with Lukaku in the past, having been in charge at Inter when the Milan giants agreed an €80m transfer with Manchester United in 2019. The striker scored 34 goals across all competitions in his debut season as Inter reached the Europa League final, before another 30 in 2020/21, a campaign that delivered the club’s first Serie A title in 11 years.

But Conte then left San Siro amid a reported disagreement with the sporting hierarchy and Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in a deal worth over €100m. Neither has hit the same heights since, with Lukaku quickly regretting his move and returning to Inter on loan, where his numbers were okay at best. A similar with Roma last season saw him go over 20 goals in all competition but peak at 13 in Serie A.

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Osimhen has been increasingly linked with Arsenal in recent days. The Nigerian’s new Napoli contract signed in December included a release clause that could help facilitate his exit. But, at £113m, it would be a new club record for the Gunnners, eclipsing last summer’s £105m deal for Declan Rice.

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