Anderlecht confirm Chelsea talks
Anderlecht have confirmed for the first time they and Chelsea are in discussions over Romelu Lukaku moving to Stamford Bridge.
The potential transfer could involve Kevin De Bruyne joining the Brussels club on loan, with the midfielder admitting he was keen on leaving Genk for the Blues and being farmed back out to his native Belgium. Lukaku, 18, has long been linked with Chelsea, who he has confessed to support.
Speculation has been rife that Anderlecht general manager Herman van Holsbeeck had visited London to work out a deal with the Premier League club. And, he has now confirmed that he has been in talks with them, in addition to other clubs.
"There is still a long way to go in the negotiations," Van Holsbeeck told Sky Sports. "We are indeed negotiating with Chelsea, but there are other clubs we are talking to."
Van Holsbeeck refused to put a timescale on any deal, and said: "It could happen in the next half hour, it could take until 31 August - that is football."
Lukaku's Belgium team-mate De Bruyne could be used as a makeweight in any deal, with the 19-year-old midfielder revealing that would be acceptable to him were he to sign for Chelsea.
"I have had time to think about my future and I would love to join Chelsea, but the important thing next season is that I play," De Bruyne said. "With Chelsea, there is not that guarantee, but there would be at Anderlecht and they would be an ideal springboard for me.
"I know Genk are in the [UEFA] Champions League, but they must get through two rounds anyway, and if I can improve sporting wise and obviously financially, then I hope Genk will not put any obstacles in my way."
De Bruyne's agent Patrick de Koster denied his client's loan move to Anderlecht would be dependent on any Lukaku deal. "No, that is not the case," De Koster said. "Kevin, though, is happy with the prospect of joining Anderlecht - he has stated that himself.
"He knows Chelsea have a history of this (loaning out players) and, if you do well, you will get your chance. And, yes, although he would benefit financially from this move, he is young and this is about his career and sporting opportunity."
Chelsea are continuing to make moves in the transfer market, despite having been without a manager for almost a month.
Wednesday saw them have a bid rejected for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric, an offer they will have to increase significantly to stand any chance of prising him away from White Hart Lane.
The Blues' managerial vacancy could soon be filled, with Turkey manager Guus Hiddink reportedly set to return to Stamford Bridge if a compensation package with his current employers can be agreed.