Romelu Lukaku was not in Chelsea’s squad for the Liverpool game on Sunday.
Despite the many medical problems in the team, coach Thomas Tuchel decided against using Lukaku in one of the most important games of the season. Lukaku had scored in his last two Premier League outings but upset Tuchel and Chelsea’s hierarchy with some of his quotes during an interview with Sky Sport Italy.
Lukaku revealed he was unhappy with his role at Chelsea and declared his love for former club Inter. He even said he wanted to return at the Meazza while he was still in his prime to help the Nerazzurri win trophies. The 28-year-old was also remorseful towards Inter’s fans, apologizing for the lack of communication during the summer. Chelsea paid a club-record transfer fee of $135 million to sign Lukaku after Euro 2020.
Tuchel did not hide his discontent with Lukaku’s interview, which Chelsea claims it was unauthorized. The German manager said he had decided to “protect the preparation” of the Liverpool match by omitting Lukaku from his squad, also confirming that he had two rounds of talks with the Belgian international.
“Of course, we have spoken, we have spoken twice, we have spoken to the main players, but after that we had to realize it was too close to the match, it’s too big,” Tuchel explained.
Inter at +700 to have Lukaku back
Lukaku returned to training before the Boxing Day round after recovering from COVID-19. He was previously sidelined with an ankle injury which kept him out for a month.
If Chelsea decide to let their star striker go less than six months after his transfer, a few of the top clubs will surely be interested. A six-month loan could be on the table. Of course, Inter are the hot-favorites to re-sign him. Bookies have the Italian champions at +700, with Juventus behind at +1,300 and Real Madrid third on the list at +1,500. Barcelona sit at +1,900, while Manchester City and Manchester United are tied at +2,400.
Without Lukaku, Chelsea drew 2-2 against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon and remain second in the Premier League table, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City.