Chelsea have seen two offers rejected by Inter Milan for their former striker Romelu Lukaku, according to a report.
Finding a new centre-forward has been one of Chelsea’s priorities in the current transfer window. Despite investing in Timo Werner last summer, the German striker failed to justify his price tag. He may come good with time, but the Blues want certainties that he is currently not providing.
After winning the Champions League, their eyes are now on the Premier League title. To challenge for it in Thomas Tuchel’s first full season in charge, they will need someone who can get them regular goals against every calibre of opponent.
In that regard, their dream target has been Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund. However, with his release clause not active until next summer, they are unlikely to be able to afford him without neglecting other areas of need.
Other potential targets, therefore, are Robert Lewandowski and Romelu Lukaku – arguably the most dangerous centre-forwards in the Bundesliga and Serie A respectively.
For Lukaku, there are familiar surroundings at Stamford Bridge. He previously was on the books at Chelsea for three years earlier in his career after joining from Anderlecht. However, he failed to score for them in 15 appearances and spent time on loan at West Brom and Everton before joining the latter on a permanent basis.
Since then, he has gone on to play for two of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United and Inter. While opinions of him were mixed at the former, he still scored at a successful rate there. In Italy, there are no doubts; Lukaku is one of the best strikers on the planet.
After winning the Serie A title last season, Inter are in a financial crisis. They have already lost coach Antonio Conte, had to sell Achraf Hakimi to PSG – he was also a target for Chelsea – and there will be one more casualty as they balance the books.
Lukaku has reaffirmed his commitment to the club; both he and Inter want to continue together. However, Chelsea may be giving them something to think about.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea “haven’t given up” on bringing Lukaku back to the Premier League. In fact, they have already made two bids for him this summer.
Neither were successful, but they believe a deal could still be possible – and more realistic than one for Haaland.
At 28 years old, Lukaku is in the prime of his career, but Inter still have him under contract for another three years. In theory, they should get to enjoy his talents for the rest of his best years, but a big offer from Chelsea may still have a chance of being successful.
Seven years after his permanent departure, Chelsea may make amends for not getting the best out of Lukaku before.
It seems the Belgian still sees his future in Milan, so only time will tell if Chelsea are able to lure him back. That time is running out, though, with the season starting imminently and the transfer window only open for another month.
Chelsea hopes soar for defender deal
Chelsea’s ability to spend big on a striker may be affected by their desire to strengthen in defence as well.
Tuchel wants to sign another centre-back after basing his success since taking over in January on a back three. However, the cornerstone of that system, Thiago Silva, is getting towards the end of his career.
While Silva can be a strong option this season again, Chelsea will need a younger player to feature alongside him and then succeed him when the time comes to move on.
To that end, they are aiming high for one of the most promising defenders in Europe. And according to a recent report, they have fresh reason to be optimistic…