The Inter Milan striker is being tipped for a potential return to the Premier League amid fresh rumours linking him with a move back to Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku is one of many names reportedly on Chelsea’s striker wishlist this summer.
A list that is also said to include Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland shows that the Blues are in the market for a prolific centre-forward to turn them into genuine Premier League title challengers next season.
Lukaku, who fired Inter to the Serie A title this season with 24 goals, is reportedly viewed as the alternative to Haaland if Chelsea can’t reach an agreement with Dortmund.
But it would appear that a deal for the Belgian international, who would cost a whopping £105million, might be easier following Inter Milan president Steven Zhang’s transfer hint.
“From the first moment we took over Inter we thought that [Antonio] Conte would be the best coach for our project,” Zhang told Gazzetta Dello Sport. “Two years ago we finally managed to bring him to the Nerazzurri.
“I was and remain convinced that Conte is a winning coach: this is the reason that led us to invest so much in him and in the team in the last two years.
“Last summer the pandemic had greatly affected our revenues but we continued with him, focusing on the season convinced that we could win.
“The decision was right, but now the bill brought by the pandemic is such that we cannot fail to review the situation by looking for savings that lead to a future budget balance.
“We must reduce costs and control risks. This obviously also influences the transfer market strategy. Our different views on the situation led to the separation.
“What wasn’t fundamental for him, was for the club, and vice-versa. Conte is a top coach, but as president, I have to think about the solidity of the club.”
Whilst Zhang did not confirm Lukaku will be sold, the admission that Inter will have to sell their star players for financial reasons hints that an exit for the striker could be on the cards.
And if Lukaku was to return to Chelsea, he certainly has some unfinished business to take care of.
It was a decade ago when Lukaku was on Chelsea’s books but he was never really given a chance and joined the Toffees permanently in the summer of 2014 before moving on to Manchester United three years later.
As a result, he considers his time at Stamford Bridge a “failure”.
In an interview with Belgian outlet HLN, the striker was asked to choose between Inter and Chelsea, with his response one that would not surprise many.
“Inter. Inter. I have won a title with Inter. That was a childhood dream too,” Lukaku said, as translated by HLN.
“At one team I had success, at the other one it was a failure.”