The agent of Romelu Lukaku has revealed Manchester City tried to sign his client before Chelsea did, though explained what ultimately made them walk away.
Lukaku signed on the dotted line for Chelsea for the second time this summer. After initially arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2011, the Belgian centre-forward made it a double when signing from Inter Milan in the summer.
After a bruising start left Arsenal and Ben White in particular shell-shocked, Lukaku has since struggled in the final third.
He has operated at a goal per game for Belgium over the last six years and plundered goals at a ratio of two in three with Inter. But at Chelsea this season he has only registered four goals and one assist in 11 outings.
Nonetheless, few would be surprised to see Lukaku hit his stride when returning from an ankle injury. But according to his agent, Lukaku could’ve been lining up in a different blue shirt in England.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Lukaku’s agent, Federico Pastorello, revealed Man City were pursuing the striker in 2020. However, the logistical difficulties of pulling off a transfer during the Covid-19 pandemic laid waste to their hopes.
“I think I can say without disappointing anybody that Manchester City came in the year before,” said Pastorello.
“During the pandemic, it was very complicated because of trying to fly to places to meet people.
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“It started very concrete and very serious, but eventually they changed their idea or they were not ready to make it happen.
“Honestly, it was very difficult after the first year – it was almost impossible. He [Lukaku] hadn’t won the league with Inter and he wanted to do that, and it would have been really impossible. Then they [City] focussed on Harry Kane this summer.”
Chelsea made five Lukaku bids – Pastorello
Pastorello then shed light on Chelsea’s pursuit. He claimed that while Chelsea were sure Lukaku was the right fit, they had to be convinced to stump up the money Inter desired.
“This is what I was telling Romelu, that it could be now or never, because probably he was not realising it 100 per cent at first,” added the Italian agent.
“I had to tell him to remember that sometimes there are trains and when they pass, they don’t come back. Because of the situation, because of the market and because there were not many possibilities, this was Romelu’s train.
“Chelsea were 100 per cent sure that he was the one. I never had doubts, but I think they needed to think twice before doing it. There were more offers before they got to the level Inter accepted.
“There were four offers and the fifth was the one that closed the talks. Looking back, I think everyone got a really good deal.”