Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is facing an important summer when it comes to his future, according to national team boss Roberto Martinez.
Lukaku left Inter in August to re-join the Blues, with the transfer costing a club-record £97.5million. He had a good start back at Chelsea, scoring in Premier League games against Arsenal and Aston Villa early on.
But the 28-year-old is now firmly behind Kai Havertz in Thomas Tuchel’s thinking. Germany international Havertz was on the scoresheet four times in March.
Lukaku did not make the starting lineup during Chelsea’s surprise 4-1 loss to Brentford on Saturday. He came off the bench in the 65th minute but couldn’t make an impact as the Blues suffered their fourth league defeat of the season.
Reports have put Lukaku in line for a return to Inter. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern are also keeping tabs on the player’s predicament, according to sources in Spain.
And Belgium boss Martinez has hinted Lukaku could leave Chelsea in the summer to strengthen his claim for a spot in the Red Devils’ World Cup squad.
Romelu Lukaku receives backing of Belgium boss
Martinez said (via The Sun): “We are talking about players, like Romelu, who have got over 100 caps and are part of this group of players who know the national team inside out.
“I’m not going to judge or assess the condition of any player until after the summer because it is not a normal situation.
“It is still seven months to the World Cup and probably you will go into the details of how a player feels when it gets closer to it than now.
“But there will be a lot of players who change clubs or are going to feel in a different way in the summer.
“Romelu needs to be assessed on how he feels in September, the same way Eden Hazard does and some others.
“But he is one of the players for whom the summer could be a big moment for their careers.”
Martinez continued: “We always speak. I have a very close relationship with all my players. I would never tell a player what to do but we always share thoughts.
“At the moment Romelu is in a good place. He is so committed.
“He was delighted to win the Club World Cup. The next step is to finish the season strong with Chelsea and make sure he can feel very important.”
One man who could join Chelsea to replace Lukaku is Tammy Abraham, who is enjoying a great campaign at Roma…