Romelu Lukaku wants to return to Inter Milan and is pushing for an ambitious and potentially complicated deal this summer that would end his disastrous Chelsea spell.
Lukaku, who rejoined the Stamford Bridge side in a club record $135 million deal last summer, has made clear to those who know him that he would like to return to Inter, according to CBS Sports sources. However, any deal would be hard for the Nerazzuri to complete due to their constrained financial circumstances and his salary, reported to be $400,000 a week. A loan would be the only realistic avenue to take the Belgian international back to San Siro.
The two clubs have yet to speak, but Lukaku is understood to be keen for his representatives to discuss parameters with Inter. Chelsea’s new ownership adds a further complicating factor to proceedings; the striker had indicated a desire to speak to Todd Boehly at the end of the season to clarify his options for the future.
After a bright start to his second spell with Chelsea, Lukaku struggled with injuries and COVID-19 before losing his starting spot to Kai Havertz. Though he ended the season with a club best tally of 15 goals from 44 appearances in all competitions, it was hardly the glorious return to the Premier League that he or his new club wanted. Lukaku has made no secret of his desire to return to Inter Milan and in a December interview with Sky Italia (for which he was sanctioned by Chelsea) he said he would have “100%” stayed if they had offered him a new contract last summer.
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Lukaku is not the only Chelsea forward whose future is in doubt. Thomas Tuchel hopes to pull off a swoop for RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, but would need to make room in the squad for the France international. Offers for Timo Werner will be seriously considered, while the futures of Hakim Ziyech and US international Christian Pulisic are in doubt.
Meanwhile, Inter have further irons of their own in the fire. They have held talks with Paulo Dybala, who will be a free agent at the end of his contract with Juventus next month, and their CEO Giuseppe Marotta has said: “Clearly the hope is that he can play with us.”
Acquiring both Lukaku and Dybala would put pressure on the Inter wage bill a year after the former was sold to ease the financial pressure on the club. Ivan Perisic’s move to Tottenham will open up some space to add to the squad but nowhere near the sum Lukaku is earning at Chelsea.