Premier League • England

Chelsea offer discount on mega flop to one club only, who still need one thing to afford deal

Chelsea are stepping up their attempts to sell Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis and are offering a special measure to facilitate his exit, according to reports in Italy.

Lukaku is currently on his second consecutive loan spell away from Chelsea in Serie A, spending the season with Roma after returning to Inter Milan last season.

The Belgium international has scored an encouraging 15 goals from 27 appearances for Roma, already beating his tally for Inter last season and matching how many he scored for Chelsea the season before.

When sanctioning his latest loan move, Chelsea inserted an informal release clause into Lukaku’s contract to effectively allow him to leave permanently for €43m (towards £37m).

However, there are doubts over whether Roma – who have been under strict scrutiny from UEFA for Financial Fair Play recently, thus largely relying on loans and free transfers – would be able to afford that.

After all, it would break their transfer record, which might be risky for a player who will be 31 years old by the summer.

Perhaps spotting the opportunity for a compromise, Il Messaggero claims Chelsea have now offered Roma a discount on Lukaku in an effort to place him there permanently.

Now, Chelsea have made Lukaku available to Roma for €30m (up to £26m).

It would represent an even bigger loss on their £97.5m investment to bring Lukaku back for a second spell at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea are keen just to get the Belgian off the books.

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Obstacle remains even after Lukaku discount

Even so, there has been little progress on the Roma front ever since the discount was suggested.

To meet even the €30m fee, Roma are relying on qualification for the Champions League, a competition they have been absent from since 2019.

The situation is not as cut and dry as being a case of Roma definitely buying Lukaku if they reach the Champions League, but it is a key objective they will likely need to achieve before entertaining the idea of investing €30m in a single player.

Chelsea will also have to wait and see how Lukaku feels about the changes that have been taking place at Roma recently – namely the sacking of former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, without whom the former Manchester United striker might never have joined the Giallorossi – before it becomes clear if that is the place where he will settle.

If the answer is negative, Lukaku will return to his contract at Chelsea, which is due to last until 2026 still.

But Chelsea seem to have no intention of reintegrating Lukaku after banishing him for separate training after he returned from his loan at Inter last summer, which had not been as happy as his permanent spell at San Siro, where he originally became a Serie A champion.

After his loan spell ended, Lukaku tried to orchestrate a controversial move to Juventus before it fell through. Roma, who never expected to have a realistic chance of landing him, eventually took their chance and have been utilising Lukaku ever since.

Whether they get to again next season – when another former Chelsea striker, Tammy Abraham, should also be back from a long-term injury, unless he is sold in the summer – is still up in the air.

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