Thursday, 21st July, 2011

Chelsea are in pole position for powerful young Anderlecht forward Romelu Lukaku after the Belgian side rejected an offer from French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

The Ligue 1 club, backed by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and with a summer transfer budget of up to €100M having been placed at sporting director (and former Inter coach) Leonardo’s disposal, contacted Anderlecht to send a bid for Lukaku.

But according to Belgian daily La Derniere Heure, that offer was politely refused by Anderlecht, who have a higher bid on the table from English Premier League side Chelsea.

The Stamford Bridge outfit have been tracking Lukaku, who has been likened to a young Didier Drogba, for most of the last 12 months, and have now decided to strike.

Anderlecht are looking for at least €20M for the 18-year-old after coming to the conclusion that commission demanded by various parties will take up to €5M from any potential transfer fee received.

The Belgian club’s president Herman Van Holsbeeck was in London recently for talks with the Blues, and those discussions have now resulted in a firm offer being lodged.

Van Holsbeeck has been clear though that there is still a way to go before a final agreement is reached.

"There is still a long way to go in the negotiations", said the Anderlecht chief, before adding, perhaps in reference to interest from PSG: "We are indeed negotiating with Chelsea, but there are other clubs we are talking to."

An improved offer from PSG cannot be ruled out, with Leonardo desperate to make a splash in the summer transfer market: Tempting Lukaku to the Parc des Princes would do just that.

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