Chelsea friendless in title betting as United chase Blues target Lukaku
Champions drift to retain Premier League crown
Chelsea won the Premier League title by seven points last season but they continue to be friendless in the betting for next term with the Blues reportedly on the verge of losing their main transfer target Romelu Lukaku to rivals Manchester United.
Betway responded by shoving Chelsea out to 15-4 to retain the title which makes them clear third favourites in next season's betting with Manchester City at 2-1 and United available at 7-2.
Hills and BoyleSports clipped United after it was suggested in some quarters they had agreed a £75m deal with Everton for Lukaku, who had been as short as 1-20 at one stage to return to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea can be backed at 4-1 with Sky Bet to sign the Belgian beast with United 1-7 and it's 25-1 that Lukaku remains at Everton.
Lukaku was barely given a chance at Chelsea when Jose Mourinho managed the Blues. He was sold by the current United boss in 2014 but he has returned impressive goal tallies at West Brom and Everton with 85 goals in 186 top-flight appearances.
The 24-year-old has been placed in the Golden Boot in the last two campaigns and it had already been factored into next season's market that Lukaku was probably leaving Everton with quotes of just 6-1.
However, even that disappeared as soon as news of United's firm interest broke with most bookmakers slashing Lukaku, who is as short as 4-1 in places and best at 11-2 with 188Bet.
Only 3-1 favourite Harry Kane is shorter than Lukaku in the Golden Boot betting, although for now at least, he remains a Toffee.
There were confirmed deals lower down the Premier League with Burnley bagging Leeds left-back Charlie Taylor, Swansea signing Spanish midfield pass master Roque Mesa for £11m from Las Palmas, and Leicester capturing Seville skipper Vincente Iborra for a fee reportedly in the region of £10.5m.
Central midfielder Iborra, who was close to signing for Sunderland 12 months ago, has scored exactly seven La Liga goals in each of Seville's last three seasons.
Iborra could make his debut in the opening match of the Premier League season away to Arsenal on Friday Night Football after the first batch of fixtures were selected for live television coverage by Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Leicester's trip to the Emirates is first up on August 11, followed by Watford v Liverpool, Brighton v Manchester City, Newcastle v Tottenham and West Ham's trip to Manchester United.
Live Premier League matches in August - Fri 11 Arsenal v Leicester, Sat 12 Watford v Liverpool, *Brighton v Man City, Sun 13 Newcastle v Tottenham, Man Utd v West Ham, Sat 19 Swansea v Man Utd, *Stoke v Arsenal, Sun 20 Tottenham v Chelsea, Mon 21 Man City v Everton, Sat 26 Bournemouth v Man City, *Man Utd v Leicester, Sun 27 West Brom v Stoke, Liverpool v Arsenal.
September - Sat 9 Man City v Liverpool, *Stoke v Man Utd, Sun 10 Burnley v Crystal Palace, Swansea v Newcastle, Mon 11 West Ham v Huddersfield, Fri 15 Bournemouth v Brighton, Sat 16 Crystal Palace v Southampton, *Tottenham v Swansea, Sun 17 Chelsea v Arsenal, Man Utd v Everton, Sat 23 West Ham v Tottenham, *Leicester v Liverpool, Sun 24 Brighton v Newcastle, Mon 25 Arsenal v West Brom, Sat 30 Huddersfield v Tottenham, *Chelsea v Man City.
October - Sun 1 *Arsenal v Brighton, Everton v Burnley, Newcastle v Liverpool.
All matches Sky Sports except *BT Sport.