Premier League • England

Chelsea to ‘play the Romelu Lukaku card’ in daring pursuit of World Cup star, as La Liga alternative emerges

Robin Gosens celebrates with Denzel Dumfries and Stefan De Vrij

Chelsea have been backed to use Romelu Lukaku as part of a swap deal for an Inter Milan ace, while an Argentina World Cup player is also on their radar for the same position.

Chelsea are not in action until December 27 once the World Cup ends. They host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge then, before facing Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day.

Graham Potter will be desperate to get a couple of wins under his belt as rumours of him being sacked by Chelsea ramp up. According to a report from Football Insider, the Englishman is not at immediate risk of being let go right now.

But if performances and results fail to improve in the new year, his position will come under serious threat.

And to make matters worse, a renowned coach with Premier League experience is apparently interested in replacing him. Football Insider claim Mauricio Pochettino has told those close to him he is keen on managing Chelsea.

One way Potter can make wins in the new year more likely is by improving his squad. And Chelsea chief Todd Boehly has already shown he is willing to spend big to make this happen.

Chelsea have been linked with several right wing-backs in the past 12 months. Of course, Reece James is in their squad, but Chelsea coaches think he could adapt to being a top-class right centre-half. And with Cesar Azpilicueta coming towards the end of his career, a new right wing-back may just be needed.

Chelsea are reportedly involved in the race to sign Denzel Dumfries from Inter Milan. He has impressed clubs around Europe with his top performances in last year’s Euros, Serie A and the Qatar World Cup.

Chelsea battling Spurs, Man Utd for wide man

Tottenham like the look of Dumfries too, while Erik ten Hag is supposedly ‘pushing’ for Manchester United to capture him. This means Chelsea will have to be quick and clever to get to the 26-year-old.

Luckily for Potter, it seems Chelsea have an ace up their sleeve. According to a report from Italian outlet Calciomercato, Chelsea will ‘play the Romelu Lukaku card’ in the Dumfries discussions.

Lukaku has gone back to Inter on loan after a disappointing campaign at Chelsea in 2021-22. He clearly prefers life in Milan and wants to join the Nerazzurri permanently from Chelsea.

With this in mind, Chelsea could engineer a swap deal or player-plus-cash deal to bring Dumfries to England in return.

Should Inter reject Chelsea’s approach, then there is an alternative available to the Blues. Spanish newspaper Marca state Chelsea are also interested in Nahuel Molina.

Chelsea have Denzel Dumfries alternative

The Atletico Madrid man has made five appearances at the World Cup so far, helping Argentina reach the last four. He will probably start when they come up against Croatia on Tuesday evening.

Chelsea have previously set their sights on Molina and it appears his World Cup displays have gotten them involved once more.

As with Dumfries though, it will not be straightforward for the west London outfit to snare Molina. Atleti view him as an important player for the future and will therefore hold out for as much money as possible.

Dumfries is thought to be Chelsea’s ideal man to improve the right wing-back position. But Molina would also be a decent signing.

Either of those players arriving at Stamford Bridge in January is unlikely. Their clubs will want them to finish the season where they are.

But come the summer, things will probably change. And don’t be surprised if Chelsea launch big-money bids for either Dumfries or Molina.

Meanwhile, Chelsea might miss out on a Prem attacker after Tottenham firmed up their interest in him.