Premier League • England

Diego Simeone instructs Atletico to pursue Chelsea star he ‘likes a lot’ – feeling is reciprocated

Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic react to Chelsea losing

Diego Simeone ‘likes Romelu Lukaku a lot’ and has told Atletico Madrid to pursue the Chelsea striker, according to a report.

Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer for a club-record £97.5million, having helped Inter to win the Serie A title in the previous season. He was expected to continue his electric form, aiding Chelsea in their Premier League title push.

But the Belgium international has not had the desired impact in west London. After a good start, he was kept out of action by injury and then coronavirus.

Lukaku was dropped by manager Thomas Tuchel in January. That came after a bombshell interview with Sky Sport Italia, where he spoke about his struggles in England.

And the 28-year-old is now behind Kai Havertz in the pecking order. His team-mate has found the net in recent matches against Burnley and Lille.

Tottenham were soon put in the mix to sign Lukaku, mainly due to Antonio Conte’s good relationship with the goalscorer.

Chelsea were unlikely to sell to a Premier League rival, although sanctions from the UK Government have put the club’s future into doubt.

Romelu Lukaku update

Sport Witness provide an update on Lukaku’s situation, while citing reports in Spain. They claim Atletico boss Simeone ‘likes Lukaku a lot‘.

He wants club officials to pursue the hitman, should a summer transfer come into frame.

As a result, Atletico are ‘attentive’ to the situation and may launch an offer later this year.

And according to the report, Lukaku reciprocates the feeling with Simeone as he wants to work with him.

Chelsea sanctions mean Antonio Rudiger will leave this summer

Chelsea sanctions mean Antonio Rudiger will leave this summer

Antonio Rudiger will likely leave Chelsea this summer after the UK government have put sanctions on Roman Abramovich

Atletico cannot match Chelsea’s demands right now. However, they are planning sales to improve their financial situation.

Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata could be on the move this summer which would make space for Lukaku on the wage bill.

The reigning La Liga champions are not the only club chasing Lukaku. The report names Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Spurs and Bayern as potential suitors.

Chelsea release statement

Following Thursday’s sanctions on the club, Chelsea put out the following statement: ‘Chelsea Football Club has been advised that its owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government.

‘By virtue of his 100 per cent ownership of Chelsea FC plc and affiliated entities, Chelsea FC would normally be subject to the same sanctions regime as Mr Abramovich.

‘However, the UK government has issued a general licence that permits Chelsea FC to continue certain activities.

‘We will fulfil our men’s and women’s team fixtures today against Norwich and West Ham, respectively. And intend to engage in discussions with the UK government regarding the scope of the licence.

‘This will include seeking permission for the licence to be amended in order to allow the club to operate as normal as possible. We will also be seeking guidance from the UK government on the impact of these measures on the Chelsea Foundation and its important work in our communities.

‘The club will update further when it is appropriate.’

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