Chelsea told to pay up if they want Lukaku

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The Independent Football

Anderlecht have told Chelsea they must increase their offer for Romelu Lukaku if they want to conclude a deal for the striker this summer.

The two sides have been locked in negotiations over the transfer of the 18-year-old for weeks but have not been able to reach an agreement on a fee.

Anderlecht are holding out for £20 million but Chelsea have been unwilling to match that figure for a player dubbed the new Didier Drogba.

The Blues had, at one point, considered pulling the plugon the deal after becoming alarmed at the teenager's comments to the Belgian media, not to mention the number of interviews he was giving on the move.

Lukaku had said he had "only" wanted to play for Chelsea but then backtracked on his claim and said he would be prepared to play for "any top European club".

He then later said in a separate media interview that he would only move to Chelsea if he was part of the manager Andre Villas-Boas's first-team plans and that he was not prepared to go out on loan such as recently signed Thibaut Courtois had done.

The Blues signed goalkeeper Courtois, 19, from another Belgian team, Racing Genk, a fortnight ago on a five-year contract and immediately sent him on a season-long loan to Atletico Madrid to replace David De Gea, who has joined Manchester United.

Lukaku believes he deserves to play in the first team, a bold statement given that Chelsea have Drogba, Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka to call on.

"When I do leave, it will not be to be loaned out as Thibaut Courtois has been," Lukaku said last week. "I want to go to a club where I can develop." Not short of confidence, the Belgium international also believes he is "absolutely" ready to play for a club the calibre of Chelsea, because he has the "ability to adapt quickly and raise his level". That said, Villas-Boas believes Lukaku is a real talent and is prepared to forgive his inexperience at giving interviews, as the Portuguese looks to add young players to his ageing squad.

Anderlecht's general manager, Herman van Holsbeeck, said that they were waiting for Chelsea to match their valuation of Lukaku. "Negotiations are going on but there is no agreement at the moment. It all now depends on Chelsea," he said.

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