Romelu Lukaku keeps his cards close to his chest (for once!)
‘I can’t speak…’: Romelu Lukaku keeps his cards close to his chest (for once!) as he’s asked about quitting Chelsea to return to Inter Milan, after telling his old club he’ll take a 50% pay cut to end his £97.5m nightmare in London
- Romelu Lukaku has again been asked about his future on international duty
- The Chelsea striker has been strongly linked with a move back to Inter Milan
- Lukaku endured a disappointing season last term and is keen to leave
- Chelsea have not received any contact from Inter or Lukaku regarding any deal
Romelu Lukaku has refused to be drawn on his future amid speculation that he will end his disappointing stay at Chelsea to return to Inter Milan.
Lukaku has been strongly linked with a move back to Italy after struggling in England following his club-record £97.5million transfer to Chelsea last summer.
The 29-year-old Belgian striker has four years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge but is keen to end his time with the club to re-sign for Inter, who he left to join Chelsea in August.
Lukaku, who is reportedly willing to take a 50 per cent pay cut to facilitate a switch back to Italy, was asked about his future ahead of Belgium’s Nations League clash with Holland on Friday.
But he remained tight-lipped, telling reporters that he ‘can’t talk about the future’.
Lukaku has sparked controversy in the past with his candidness in interviews. In December, he told Sky Italia that he was ‘not happy with the situation at Chelsea’, criticised manager Thomas Tuchel’s tactics and said he wanted to go back to Inter.
He later apologised to Tuchel, his team-mates and the club’s supporters but, for some, the damage had been done.
Reports suggest Lukaku, who scored 15 goals in 44 outings last season, is prepared to take a pay cut worth millions if it would ease his return on loan from Chelsea.
The Italian club believe he would accept a salary similar to the one he earned before leaving Milan for London – roughly £6.4m net a year and around half of what he is currently paid at Chelsea.
Inter are short of cash, walking the tightrope of Financial Fair Play and under pressure to make a significant profit in the transfer window and trim the wage bill.
They cannot afford to buy Lukaku and will try to negotiate a loan, well aware that Tuchel might jump at the chance to replace him.
Chelsea, however, have not received any contact from Inter or the Belgian, who is on international duty. Any deal would have to work for them to recruit a suitable replacement.
Another potential hurdle to any move has been cleared after Todd Boehly’s takeover of the club from Roman Abramovich was completed this week.
The club had been under sanctions due to Abramovich’s ownership following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which meant Chelsea were unable to buy or sell players.