Chelsea have Victor Osimhen belief as Antonio Conte could do former side a huge favour

Victor Osimhen is expected to leave Napoli. (Image: Getty)

Chelsea could be boosted by former manager Antonio Conte this summer after the Italian was confirmed as the new manager of Serie A side Napoli. Conte is back in work for the first time since his explosive departure from Tottenham in March 2023, and has immediately been linked to a player now surplus to requirements to the Blues.

Romelu Lukaku has been on loan spells the past two seasons at Inter Milan and then Roma, but still has two years on his deal left at Stamford Bridge.

And with Todd Boehly reportedly needing to negotiate player sales this summer in order to ensure the club don’t fall foul of Financial Fair Play regulations, the club are now seeking a permanent sale of the striker as opposed to another temporary deal.

Lukaku cost the Premier Club £97.5million when he arrived from Inter in 2021, making him the most expensive player of all time in terms of cumulative transfer fees. But his release clause stands at just £38m, with Boehly now prepared to accept a huge loss on the Belgian in order to raise much needed funds.

According to Sky Sports, Conte is keen to bring the 31-year-old to Napoli as he prepares for the exit of Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian signed a contract extension with the Italian club in December, but had his own release clause set at around £110m.

Osimhen has been strongly linked with a move to England, amid interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. The 25-year-old was credited for firing Napoli to an historic title win in the 2022/23 campaign, scoring 26 league goals.

Antonio Conte has taken over at Napoli. (Image: Getty)

But relations seemed to sour with his club the following season, after Napoli appeared to mock their own player on social media following a penalty miss against Udinese last September. He still managed 15 top-flight goals as his club laboured to seventh, but his signing of a new deal was perceived to simply be an attempt by the club to safeguard against losing him for a cut-price fee.

Chelsea reportedly believe that Napoli need to offload Osimhen in order to meet their asking price for Lukaku. Should they fail to do so, then they are likely to continue to discuss options of a move to Saudi Arabia.

Lukaku, who will head to Germany for Euro 2024 next week, came close to a move to Al-Hilal last summer. However, the switch collapsed at the 11th hour, and he duly headed to Rome on a season-long deal.

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Speaking to VTM last week, the forward hinted that he was open to a move, saying: “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t stop me. The level will only increase. To a much higher level than many people think. More and more football players will tend to play there.

“The infrastructure still needs to be improved, but all major European top clubs know, ‘Saudi Arabia is coming’. You already see that in boxing, golf, Formula 1.”