Premier League • England

Chelsea deal collapses to give Liverpool legend Roberto Firmino a surprise next move

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino

A surprise enquiry into signing Roberto Firmino when he leaves Liverpool at season’s end has been lodged, with the move arising thanks entirely to a Chelsea deal collapsing, per a report.

The Brazilian centre-forward, 31, will bring his trophy-laden Anfield career to a close this summer. Firmino has lifted the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his time at Liverpool. However, all good things must come to an end.

The decision to leave is understood to have come from Firmino himself who did not wish to become even more of a bit-part player.

With recent signings Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo as well as Diogo Jota all capable of leading the line, the writing was on the wall for Firmino.

However, Firmino still has plenty to give as evidenced by his nine goals and four assists in the Premier League this term. His 13 goal contributions have come at an impressive rate of one every 87 minutes in a season where many around him have struggled.

Real Madrid have been linked with bringing Firmino on board once his contract expires. More recently, two separate sources claimed he could replace the off-form Tammy Abraham at Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

However, according to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, a surprise move to Inter Milan could await.

The Champions League quarter-finalists currently boast a plethora of options to play up front. Indeed, Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko are at manager Simone Inzaghi’s disposal.

Lukaku’s loan does not contain an option to buy, though it had been anticipated Inter would attempt to bring him back for at least one more season next year. That would certainly be to the Belgian’s liking, though Lukaku isn’t primed to get his wish.

Firmino to replace Lukaku at Inter?

Indeed, Gazzetta report that in lieu of Lukaku’s disastrous campaign, they’ve abandoned all plans to forge a follow-up deal with Chelsea.

Lukaku’s season has been beset by injuries. Even when fit, he’s struggled to recapture the type of form that earned him a £98m move to Stamford Bridge in 2021. Just three goals have been notched in 18 Serie A appearances this term, with two of them coming from the penalty spot.

Gazzetta stress ‘there won’t be’ a return to the San Siro for Lukaku next year, and the void he’ll leave could be filled by Roberto Firmino.

Three strikers are in Inter’s sights, per the report. Firmino is one, as is fellow free agent-to-be Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach. The final option is new Italy international, Mateo Retegui, who is on loan at Mexican side Tigre from Boca Juniors.

It’s claimed an Inter enquiry into signing Firmino has been received by his camp. For his part, Firmino is yet to reach a final decision on who he’ll play for next.

Gazzetta add Firmino has interest ‘from a couple’ of Spanish sides. Real are presumably one if the prior reports are to be believed.

However, Firmino would be all but guaranteed to be a bench player if moving to the Bernabeu. Displacing Karim Benzema even aged 35 is a near-impossible task at present.

The veteran Frenchman has reportedly agreed to add another 12 months onto his Real deal that’ll tie him down until the end of next season.

As such, a move to Inter Milan to replace Lukaku and partner Lautaro Martinez in Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 formation could await.

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