Premier League • England

Exclusive: Pochettino rejected by Mourinho favourite despite Chelsea intervention to Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku applauding Roma fans

Romelu Lukaku being presented to the Roma fans

Romelu Lukaku rejected the chance to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea before switching to Roma, TEAMtalk understands.

We have been told by sources that Chelsea’s hierarchy made it clear to the Belgian that if he was still at Stamford Bridge after last week’s transfer deadline, then he could be reintegrated.

However, Lukaku believed that his future was best served by moving back to Serie A.

Lukaku saw a move back to Inter Milan fall through, and then subsequent interest from Juventus materialised before Jose Mourinho’s made his move and Roma struck a deal.

TEAMtalk understands that whilst Mauricio Pochettino was not involved, he would have been open to working with Lukaku – but did not want to stand in his way of a move and as it transpired it was clear Lukaku wanted to move.

The Belgian striker made his debut for Roma as a substitute over the weekend after linking up with Mourinho at a third different club in their careers.

READ MOREInside Mourinho and Lukaku’s marriage of convenience as Roma land most unlikely deal of the summer

Since the deal is only a season-long loan, Chelsea still have Lukaku under contract until 2026.

Pochettino was prepared to ‘adapt’ to Lukaku situation

In late August, about a week before the Roma route materialised, Pochettino addressed the Lukaku situation by saying: “If the player and club’s wish is to find a solution; it’s not me, it’s them.

“In that case, the player and the club will meet and inform to me that things have changed. I’m not going to move until the club or the player want to talk with me. I am here, I accept the situation that was here when I arrived.

“The club and the player, both try to find a solution. The future can change things. Life can change. I saw [Jurgen] Klopp say I’m not going to be in this business when we should pay £100million, and then they offered £100million and he said, ‘Oh, I made a mistake’.

“That is the same situation. In football, the dynamic is fast and changes and we need to move on. Today, nothing has changed. If something changes we will adapt to the situation.”

Lukaku returned to Chelsea for a second spell in 2021 when they broke their transfer record to bring him back from Inter on the back of his role in the Nerazzurri winning Serie A. However, he only scored eight Premier League goals from 26 appearances before being sent back to Inter on loan.

He got 10 Serie A goals last season from 25 games for Inter and now has a new challenge underway in Rome.

Now, Mourinho – a coach who has previously got 33 goals out of him during their days at Manchester United – will be hoping to benefit from what Lukaku can bring.

READ MOREChelsea star rejected deadline day move to Prem rivals after Pochettino sanctioned £25m exit