Chelsea lead race for €100m Andrea Belotti after Torino rule out selling to Serie A rivals

Manchester United were in talks but were not willing to meet the striker's release clause

Chelsea: Where are the Blues going on their summer tour?

Torino have ruled out the possibility of selling Chelsea target Andrea Belotti to another Italian club and have revealed they will discuss the possibility of allowing him to leave.

The Independent broke the story that the Italy international was a key target for Manchester United at the start of the summer but the Old Trafford club were unable to agree a fee with the Serie A side, who were refusing to budge on Belotti’s €100m release clause.

That led to talks between the two sides breaking down, despite Belotti’s desire to move to the Premier League, with United instead signing Romelu Lukaku for £75m, which could eventually rise to a world-record fee.

Chelsea thought they’d sealed Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge only for manager Antonio Conte to be left furious with how United were able to snatch him from under their noses, leaving the club desperately chasing other alternatives.

Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, another United target, is one, with Belotti the other of only two realistically available strikers on the market at the moment.

And given Chelsea’s desperation to please Conte, who has quit jobs over a lack of transfer activity in the past, they could well be willing to pay the 23-year-old’s release clause.

But so far Torino are yet to receive a bid to trigger the move, although club president Urbano Cairo conceded they had had some “interesting options”.

“He has a €100m release clause. For now no-one has come in for him. I’m glad he’s with us and I hope he can stay.

“I want to understand his intentions, I’m happy for him to stay, not least because we’ve given up interesting options which didn’t reach the €100m clause.

“They weren’t real offers, but there were contacts. I don’t want to imagine a Toro without Il Gallo.

“Tonight I’ll have a meal with [coach Sinisa] Mihajlovic and [sporting director Gianluca] Petrachi, we’ll talk about everything and you understand we also have to think about this possibility.

“The clause is there, but we have to understand what he thinks because it’s important for a player to stay with the desire to do well. I want to talk to him, I want a confirmation.

“I don’t think it’s possible to sell in Italy, where there isn’t even the clause. Andrea is an extraordinary lad, he has undeniable qualities.”

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