Romelu Lukaku has been added to Chelsea’s shortlist of potential striker targets for the summer, according to reports.
Lukaku previously played for Chelsea between 2011 and 2014, but spent most of that time out on loan at other clubs. In total, he only made 15 appearances for the club before packing his bags and joining Everton. It was a move they may have come to regret.
Chelsea have notoriously let go of a number of players who have gone on to fulfil their potential elsewhere in recent years. Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah are examples, but so is Lukaku.
He may have left Manchester United without getting the respect he deserved in 2019, but since joining Inter thereafter, he has proven himself to be one of the best strikers in the world.
The Belgian was Inter’s top scorer last season with 34 goals in all competitions. This season, he already has 25 goals to his name and looks set to outscore all his teammates again.
Lukaku’s form in Italy has seen some clubs consider giving him a second chance in the Premier League. For example, Manchester City have been linked with a move for their former rival.
But now, a shock return to Chelsea could be on the cards, according to The Telegraph.
The newspaper claims that Lukaku has been identified as a possible alternative target if Chelsea cannot sign Erling Haaland in the summer. The Borussia Dortmund striker is their top target but comes with a hefty price tag.
What’s more, there have been reports that the Norwegian is not keen on Chelsea as a next destination. If they cannot convince him, they must turn their attention elsewhere.
Lukaku is now back on their radar and may have unfinished business at Stamford Bridge. He never scored for their senior team but would be expected to do so at a regular rate nowadays.
Inter may have to sell some of their key players this summer due to financial difficulties. They would surely rather keep Lukaku if possible, but it is not yet clear if he may have to be sacrificed.
In that event, a return to Chelsea may be an option for the 27-year-old.
The Blues invested heavily in attacking reinforcements last summer. However, few have managed to prove themselves.
Timo Werner went through a goal drought earlier in the season, while winger Hakim Ziyech and attacking midfielder Kai Havertz have also endured troubles.
Of the players who were already at the club beforehand, Tammy Abraham has been less involved this season and Olivier Giroud is out of contract at the end of the season.
That means signing another new striker has again become a priority for Chelsea – and their search may have led them back to Lukaku.
Haaland price rockets past £150m
As stated earlier, one of the reasons for Chelsea widening their focus in their search for a striker is Haaland’s price tag.
The Leeds-born striker has a €75m release clause active next summer. Until then, though, Dortmund can command whatever fee they like.
According to ESPN, Dortmund have set an asking price of €180m to consider a sale of Haaland this summer.
Chelsea are not the only contenders – and would be among those most able to pay a premium fee. However, they may think twice about bidding that much.
That means their gaze is turning elsewhere, even though they are not ruling themselves out of the running completely.