Romelu Lukaku is one step closer to returning to Stamford Bridge after telling Inter Milan he wants a transfer to Chelsea. The 28-year old Belgian striker was previously under contract with the West London club between 2011 and 2014.
Inter rejected two bids for Lukaku from Chelsea, but a third attempt by the English giants is expected to be successful.
Serie A champions Inter are believed to want a firm $140 million in return for their star forward. Lukaku was regarded as vital for Inter’s future and placed in the non-available zone, but things have changed because of the financial situation at the club.
Chelsea convinced Lukaku to accept their wage offer and he could be on his way out of Meazza in just a few days, depending on how the negotiations play out. Chelsea made Lukaku their main transfer target this summer after Dortmunds’s Erling Haaland was denied a move during the current transfer window.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is a big Lukaku fan, which is one key reason behind the ongoing negotiations.
In his previous stint at Chelsea, Lukaku couldn’t find the net in 15 outings. He was loaned out to WBA, then Everton, with the latter buying him in 2014 for $40 million. Chelsea is now ready to pay him a yearly salary of $14 million after he scored 24 goals and assisted another 11 for Inter in 36 Serie A games last season.
What’s next for Inter?
After losing title-winning manager Antonio Conte, Inter accepted $70 million from PSG for defender Achraf Hakimi and is set to sell Lukaku to Chelsea for $140 million. Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen is also out for at least six months following the cardiac arrest he suffered on the pitch while on duty for his national team at Euro 2020.
Under new coach Simone Inzaghi, Inter wants another Scudetto, and to start rebuilding following its recent success. In 2021, Inter celebrated its first title in 11 years. To replace Lukaku, the Nerazzurri are eyeing Atalanta’s 30-year-old striker Duvan Zapata. The Colombian scored 19 goals in 49 games in all competitions last season.
So far this summer, Inter signed Belgian defender Zinho Vanheusden (21) from Standard Liege for $17.6 million, Italian right-back Matteo Darmian (31) from Parma for $2.75 million. The team also signed the creative Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu (27) from city rivals AC Milan and Italian goalkeeper Alex Cordaz (38) from Crotone on free transfers.
The bookies have Juventus as favorites to win Serie A next season at +115, with Inter repeating this year’s success at +225. An AC Milan triumph is at +1100, while Atalanta and Napoli are both at +1300.