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Lukaku linked with $70 million Chelsea return as Conte makes early plans


during the Emirates FA Cup sixth round match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on March 12, 2016 in Liverpool, England.

Chris Brunskill

With Antonio Conte officially announced as the new Chelsea manager for next season, it’s time for the gossip to start circulating around Stamford Bridge on summer transfer plans.

Just hours after the deal was publicized, reports are already out on who the Italian would like to see wearing Chelsea blue next season.

One of his key targets already wore Chelsea blue once in his career: Romelu Lukaku.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

After a few successful loan spells, Chelsea sold Lukaku to Everton for $47 million in 2014. Now just two years later, the Blues are reportedly willing to spend $70 million to buy him back.

In each of the past four seasons, the Belgian striker has tallied at least 15 goals in all competitions. He currently has 18 goals in the Premier League and 25 in all competitions this season, both career highs.

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The price of $70 million may sound high, but Lukaku is still just 22-years-old. Already proven to be a top talent as an elite scorer and with such a high ceiling, clubs are willing to spend big. Should the striker perform well for Belgium at this summer’s EURO, that price could still grow.

Jose Mourinho is the man who originally wanted to sell Lukaku, as there is not believed to be any hard feelings between the player and Chelsea as a club. However, Lukaku did say he wanted to play in the Champions League next season, which could put a dent in Conte’s plans with the Blues out of Europe next year.