Chelsea could be set for a large transfer windfall with an eye-watering loan fee set for Romelu Lukaku reported to be around £20 million. The Belgian has flopped since returning to Chelsea in a £97.5m record transfer move last summer and has been tipped to return to his previous club Inter Milan.
With the Serie A runners-up struggling as a result of financial fair play regulations any permanent return for the striker would currently prove impossible. However, Lukaku is very keen to head back to the Italian side and would be willing to take a large pay cut of around 50% to make it happen, according to reports. Therefore, a loan deal would be a distinct possibility and the only way any move could come off.
The Telegraph reports that the loan fee would sit as high as £20m and hence help Chelsea’s transfer budget significantly. Blues manager Thomas Tuchel may jump at the chance to flog his flailing forward given the difficulties the pair have faced in their personal relationship since Lukaku’s explosive interview with Sky Italy in December.
The striker suffered another difficult game again last night, limping off injured while his Belgian teammates were thrashed 4-1 by the Netherlands. He refused to comment on his future after the game when asked by reporters stating that he ‘can’t talk about his future’.
The 102-times capped Belgian international has fallen far below what was expected of him since his return to England. He was signed to be the transformational force that would turn Chelsea into title contenders after their 2020/21 season was marred by a lack of a reliable number nine. However, Lukaku has been unable to fulfil this role, scoring just eight times in 26 Premier League appearances.
Lukaku has made no secret of his admiration for Inter Milan even while at Chelsea. The Belgian spoke at length about his love for Inter during his Sky Italy interview in December.
“I have always said that I have Inter in my heart: I know I will return to Inter,” he said. “I am in love with Italy and I really hope from the bottom of my heart to return to Inter not at the end of my career, but when I’m still at the top level to win more together.”
A return to Italy may now be the solution that works the best for all parties involved. All eyes will rest on whether Inter can afford to pay the loan fee and allow Chelsea to seek an alternative option.