The Daily Mail claims Everton have made the first move in the race to sign Chelsea youngster Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian spent time on loan at the club last season playing for Roberto Martinez and the Spaniard seems keen for his side to try and tie down the talented striker.
However, the Mail also suggests that up to eight clubs are in the mix to sign him, which could force Everton out of the equation if a bidding war starts for the player after the World Cup.
“Everton have opened talks with Chelsea over another deal for Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has been offered to Atletico Madrid and has around six other clubs interested,” reports the Mail.
If Chelsea have decided that it’s the end of the road for Lukaku, with Jose Mourinho unlikely to use him next season, it’s logical that they’ll wait until after the World Cup to do a deal.
Lukaku is likely to start for Belgium at the tournament, one of the dark horses to win the tournament.
If he plays well then the reports of a £17-20 million valuation last season could look like good value against some of the prices that will be reported following the World Cup.
In short, it’s in Chelsea’s interests to wait until after the World Cup to do a deal because they can make more money out of it.
Everton may also be fighting against Chelsea’s reluctance to sell to another Premier League club.
If Lukaku moves to Everton, he can hurt Chelsea domestically in the Premier League, the League Cup and the FA Cup.
There is plenty of positive foreign interest in Lukaku with Atletico mentioned above, as well as interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Those sides can offer the Belgian Champions League football but they may be a little unconvinced over his quality, but the World Cup provides the biggest platform of all for Lukaku to perform on.