Who could replace Lukaku at Chelsea?
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Chelsea are willing to slash their asking price in order to offload Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan on loan, according to reports. Lukaku is pushing to secure a move back to Inter after a miserable first season back at Chelsea and the club have now taken a significant step towards making a deal with the Italian side.
Chelsea shelled out a club-record £97.5million fee to sign their former player from Inter last summer, but the move has not worked out. Lukaku scored just eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances last season and openly clashed with Thomas Tuchel by giving a controversial interview to Sky Italia in December in which he criticised the manager’s tactics.
The 29-year-old has made it clear he wants to cut short his stay in west London and return to Milan this summer. But Inter cannot afford to sign the Belgian, who earns £325,000 at Chelsea, and a loan deal is also proving complicated.
Goal reports that Chelsea were initially asking for a loan fee of £21m (€25m), but are so desperate to get rid of Lukaku that they have now reduced that asking price to £10m (€12m). Inter have so far only raised their offer to £6m (€7m), but Sky Sports say the Italian club are ‘confident’ of securing the striker who scored 24 goals in 36 league games to help them win Serie A in 2020/21 under Antonio Conte’s management.
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Reports in Italy suggest that Inter may try to lower Chelsea’s asking price further, or insist they pay more of Lukaku’s wages during the loan spell, by including players in negotiations. Right wing-back Denzel Dumfries has previously been linked with a move to Chelsea, who could still lose Cesar Azpilicueta to Barcelona.
What to do with Lukaku has been a lingering problem at Chelsea almost ever since they decided to break the bank to sign him. The Belgium international has struggled to adapt to Tuchel’s playing style and spent much of last season on the substitutes’ bench, watching Kai Havertz and Timo Werner play in front of him.
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Despite wanting to make things work, there now appears to be an understanding from both sides that it is better to cut their losses. Todd Boehly’s consortium, who are majority funded by Clearlake Capital, are ready to back Tuchel in the summer transfer window after completing a takeover from Roman Abramovich on May 30.
According to the Guardian, Lukaku could be far from the only departure this summer from Chelsea. Tuchel is reportedly ready to listen to offers for Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic in order to make room for new arrivals.
Chelsea are considering bids for Manchester City pair Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, who is set to be available on a free transfer.
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