Premier League • England

Chelsea exit goes up in smoke with failed buyers ‘furious’ as Pochettino gives striker silent treatment

Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech smiling while sitting on the bench for Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech smiling while sitting on the bench for Chelsea

Chelsea will not be offloading Romelu Lukaku to Inter again this summer after the Serie A side became ‘furious’ about a factor that has forced them to end their interest.

Lukaku returned to Inter on loan from Chelsea last summer, just a year after he moved in the opposite direction to embark on a second spell with the Blues. After disappointing back at Stamford Bridge, the striker also struggled to match the standards of his first Inter spell after heading back to Italy.

But there was a belief throughout the season that Inter would try to keep Lukaku into the 2023-24 campaign and beyond. According to various sources, though, that will not be happening.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Inter’s interest in bringing Lukaku back is completely over. The Champions League runners up will make their stance clear to Chelsea soon.

The reason behind their withdrawal from the race to sign Lukaku is that they have heard of his negotiations with Juventus. Due to the rivalry between the two clubs – particularly when Lukaku has spoken affectionately about Inter for a long time – that has left them ‘furious’.

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Elaborating on the new potential exit route for Lukaku, Romano has revealed that Juventus would be willing to offer Chelsea a transfer fee of €37.5m with €2.5m to follow in add-ons.

However, Juventus will only put that money on the table if they have been able to sell Dusan Vlahovic before August 4. Likewise, Chelsea want Lukaku off their hands by the end of July.

Saudi Arabia switch also possible for Lukaku

If not Juventus, his destination could be somewhere in Saudi Arabia, where other clubs would be willing to put together a €40m transfer package.

This summer, Chelsea have already managed to offload players like Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly to clubs in the Saudi Professional League, where N’Golo Kante has also ended up after his contract in west London expired.

Depending on what happens with the Juventus situation, Lukaku could have a future there too – despite recent claims to the contrary. Either way, he will be sold by Chelsea if they get their way.

Indeed, Romano has insisted Chelsea have no plans to take Lukaku with them on their pre-season tour of the USA. In fact, it is claimed that new head coach Mauricio Pochettino has never even spoken to the 30-year-old.

Although Chelsea have also struggled for goals on the whole in recent years, it appears Lukaku is not a solution for them in their new era.

Nor would Vlahovic be, since Romano has refuted rumours that he could swap places with Lukaku as part of Juventus’ plans.

Yet if Lukaku is to leave Chelsea for another spell in Serie A next season, it seems evident that Juventus, rather than Inter, are the club that the Blues should be listening out for.

Meanwhile, Chelsea might miss out on another Juventus attacker to Newcastle.