Antonio Conte: Chelsea Manager Issues Ultimatum for Top Transfer Target

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku
Belgium and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, Lille, July 1. Chelsea is pursuing a big-money move for the star. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wants Romelu Lukaku to spearhead his new team but he will not wait forever for the Everton striker.

According to The Times, Conte's next offer for the Belgian will be his last. Everton values Lukaku at £75 million ($99.2 million), but Chelsea's highest bid so far has been a reported £57 million ($75.4 million).

Conte is not a man to be pushed around, however, so Chelsea appears to have become locked in a stand-off with Everton, with both sides refusing to budge.

The saga has echoes of another of this summer's long-running narratives—the prospective, protracted transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.

As with Pogba, who began his senior career at United before finding greater success elsewhere, so Lukaku felt forced to move away from Chelsea permanently in the summer of 2014.

His transfer to Everton, for £28 million ($37.1 million) worked out the way he wanted, with 25 goals in all competitions in 2015-16.

Lukaku was reported by the Evening Standard on Tuesday to be considering handing in a transfer request.

That would force Everton's hand, and potentially make it easier for Conte to sign up his man. But it seems Chelsea will not be held to ransom, with two elite strikers already at the club in Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa.