‘Against his will’ - Chelsea delivered £97.5m update in transfer twist
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Romelu Lukaku is set to return to Chelsea from Inter Milan ‘against his will’ this summer, with the Italians reportedly not looking to action a permanent transfer.
That’s according to Gazzetta dello Sport, who claim the club are struggling with finances and cannot afford to bring the Belgian in full-time.
Chelsea initially signed Lukaku from Inter for an eye-watering £97.5 million in 2021, eclipsing the previous transfer record set by Kai Havertz.
However, just a year after leaving, Lukaku rejoined his former side on a season-long loan deal. The 29-year-old admitted he was “not happy” at Stamford Bridge under former manager Thomas Tuchel, and was hoping to return to the Serie A club.
But despite being back in Italy, Lukaku has struggled with consistency and has mustered up just seven goals in 24 appearances across all competitions. His season has also been hampered by injuries, including a lengthy hamstring problem.
Lukaku set for Chelsea return
According to the report, Inter Milan simply cannot justify the funds to invest in the signing of their former player.
They initially bought Lukaku from Manchester United back in 2019 for £73m and he certainly hit the ground running.
After stating the Nerazzurri was the only club he wanted, he returned their faith by netting 34 goals across all competitions in his debut season.
Lukaku continued his impressive form into the following term, notching 30 goals and ten assists in total to catch the attention of Chelsea.
However, the Belgian’s return to England was a lukewarm one. He managed just eight goals in 26 Premier League matches, taking his overall tally for the season to 15 — a long way off the numbers he was producing for Inter.
An uncertain future for Lukaku
Despite being back at what seems to be his preferred club, the Italians are in no position to keep the striker on their books. Inter have recorded a loss of €784m (£694m) over the last ten financial years and the annual operating loss stands at about €150m (£133m).
After forking out almost £7m for Lukaku’s loan fee, plus a portion of his hefty £325,000 per week wages, Inter will use his summer exit as a way to save a bit of money during their current financial struggles.
While Lukaku is set to return from his loan spell, the likelihood of Chelsea keeping him on the roster is slim. The West London club recently reported as much as £121m in losses of their own across the 2021/22 season, and a potential sale of Lukaku could be used to make some of that back.
However, according to Football Insider, the Blues have resigned themselves to selling the Belgian, who turns 30 next month, for an “enormous loss” when the transfer window opens.