Premier League • England

No way back as Chelsea attacker ‘will be sold’ to league he thinks ‘could be the best in the world’

Romelu Lukaku and the Saudi Pro League logo

Romelu Lukaku could agree to a Saudi move to ensure he escapes from Chelsea

Chelsea are planning to sell Romelu Lukaku this summer and already know the minimum amount of money they will need to receive, which has narrowed down his list of potential destinations.

Lukaku is currently on loan at Roma for the season, his second consecutive spell of the sort in Serie A after his brief return to Inter last term. Chelsea were thoroughly underwhelmed by Lukaku when they originally bought him from Inter for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.

This summer, their task once again will be to try and sell him, something they have struggled to do since his 15-goal campaign with the club in 2021/22.

As summarised by La Gazzetta Dello Sport, they need to make at least €43m (£36.8m) from Lukaku’s sale because of the amount they invested in him three years ago.

Unless Roma qualify for the Champions League, his current loan club are unlikely to be able to afford a permanent deal, so the race for Lukaku’s signature is widening.

After similar information from the Daily Telegraph recently, it is claimed that clubs in Saudi Arabia are starting to take another look at Lukaku as another potential recruit.

And despite the strict price tag, the report definitively states that the Belgium international ‘will be sold’ by Chelsea this time around.

Interestingly, Lukaku highlighted the Saudi Pro League’s potential back in January, when Roma were in the Middle East for a friendly with Al-Shabab.

“In the next two years I see Saudi Pro League becoming one of the best in the world, if not the best,” Lukaku told Riyadiya TV.

“The clubs make a lot of efforts to bring the big players here. As a result, the teams and the footballing qualities are improving significantly.

“They are improving a lot. It could be the best competition in the world.”

IN DEPTH – How the Chelsea loan army are faring away from Stamford Bridge: Lukaku, Kepa…

Lukaku, who turns 31 in May and has so far scored 16 goals from 33 appearances for Roma – more than he ever did for Chelsea over 59 appearances across two spells – might be playing there next season if things fall into place.

It would follow Chelsea selling Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy to Saudi clubs last summer, as well as N’Golo Kante going to Al-Ittihad on a free transfer after his contract in west London expired.

How has Lukaku done this season?

Lukaku joining Roma for the current season was not something fans in the Italian capital expected until late in the summer transfer window.

The former Scudetto winner was given a heroic reception in Rome and started his latest reunion with Jose Mourinho fairly well, reaching 10 goals for his new club by November.

Since then, things have slowed down somewhat for the former West Brom, Everton and Manchester United target man.

He has only scored twice – once each in Serie A and the Europa League, a competition he usually has a phenomenal record in – since Roma replaced Mourinho with Daniele De Rossi as head coach.

Therefore, it seems unlikely a club with Roma’s financial restrictions could afford to pay Chelsea €43m for him as a short-term option, but money seems to be less of an object over in the growing Saudi Pro League.

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