Chelsea could have three players on transfer shortlist to replace Romelu Lukaku

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Chelsea will reportedly be in the market for a new striker to replace Romelu Lukaku at the top of the pitch ahead of next season. The Blues snapped up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona to strengthen their attacking ranks over the summer but are said to remain on the lookout for additional improvements in the area as things stand.

Lukaku is still technically a Chelsea player after rejoining Inter Milan on loan in June but is widely expected to be sold upon his eventual return to Stamford Bridge next summer. It seems as though the Blues are already planning to replace Lukaku with another big-money signing, with those in power having drawn up a long list of potential targets, according to CBS Sports.

It is implied that Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic is likely to be among the names under consideration at Chelsea after his impressive start to the season in Italy. The Serbian marksman, who was heavily linked with Arsenal before joining Juventus in January, has already chipped in with five goals in Serie A and looks set to play a major role in helping the Old Lady to compete for their first title since 2020 over the course of the campaign.

However, it remains to be seen whether Juventus would be prepared to let Vlahovic leave so soon after bringing him to the club, with a mega-money bid likely to be required for Chelsea to stand any chance of being successful. The Blues are also said to be targeting a move for RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku, who has been widely tipped to sign for the two-time European champions ahead of next season.

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The Leipzig man reportedly underwent a medical in Germany last month, with Chelsea now said to be in discussions over a potential transfer fee at club level. The Blues are hoping to reach a suitable compromise with Leipzig but are prepared to meet Nkunku’s release clause of around £52.7million if they are unable to find an agreement, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The proposed deal is not yet done, though, and there is still a chance that Chelsea could fail in their efforts to land Nkunku between now and the start of next season. They may be inclined to turn back to AC Milan talisman Rafael Leao if the move falls through after seeing a nine-figure bid for the 23-year-old rejected over the summer.

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Leao would certainly be a smart signing to succeed Lukaku at Chelsea when the season draws to a close, although Milan are confident that he will sign a new deal at the San Siro at some point over the coming months. A number of other clubs have also been keeping tabs on Leao as of late, with Chelsea potentially set to face stiff competition if they opt to rejoin the race for his signature.

The Blues will have no shortage of money to spend on new recruits over the next two transfer windows after splashing in excess of £270m in the summer market, with Todd Boehly having demonstrated that he is prepared to invest heavily to sign the right players. Only time will tell which direction Chelsea will go in with regards to their search for a new striker, though, as they weigh up the qualities of every target on their list ahead of next season.

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