Romelu Lukaku (28) is heading back to Chelsea, the club he left in 2014. Inter accepted a $135 million offer for the Belgian, who also agreed personal terms with the Champions League winners. For Chelsea, the 2021 version of the “Lukaku affair” sets the new club transfer record.

Romelu Lukaku Chelsea
Chelsea will pay a club-record transfer fee of $135 million to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan. (Image: Twitter/VoleApp)

The forward will sign a five-season contract with the London giants worth $15 million per year. Lukaku is currently the highest earner in Chelsea’s paybook.

According to The Athletic, negotiations between the two clubs became more intense on Friday, as Chelsea tried to include players in the deal to ease their financial effort. In the end, Inter got the money they were after.

The Italian champions took advantage of the fact that Chelsea wanted Lukaku to be part of the squad ahead of the Premier League’s first round. The English league kicks off next weekend, with Chelsea hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday. Lukaku won’t feature in the European Super Cup, which is going to be played in Belfast on Wednesday.

The striker will have his medicals in Belgium on Sunday and will travel to London afterward to finalize his move to Chelsea.

When they first signed Lukaku back in 2011, Chelsea paid Anderlecht $23.5 million.

Before bidding for their ex-player, the Blues worked on two other glamorous deals. First, they attempted to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, but the Germans weren’t impressed with any of Chelsea’s approaches. Borussia remained firm, saying Haaland won’t move from the Bundesliga this summer. Chelsea’s second shot was Robert Lewandowski, but Bayern was interested in talks to for their prized goal-getter.

Lukaku, who didn’t score any goal at Chelsea in his 15 games for the club, is now regarded as one of the top strikers in the world.

During his three years at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian never had the confidence of his coaches, being offloaded to West Bromwich Albion, then Everton. The latter signed him on a permanent deal in 2014 following a successful campaign on loan. Lukaku went on to play for Manchester United from 2017 to 2019, before moving to Inter Milan. With the Nerazzurri, he scored 64 goals in just 95 games. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hopes Romelu will replicate that form in England in their push to become champions.

The bookies see Chelsea as second-favorites to conquer the Premier League next year, having them tied at +500 with Liverpool. Defending winners City are first, at +150. Manchester United is now at +800, with Tottenham at +4,000. Leicester and Arsenal are even further away, at +5,000.