Saturday, September 23

Chelsea tell Romelu Lukaku he can join Inter on loan if the finances are right | Chelsea

Chelsea have told Romelu Lukaku that he will be allowed to join Internazionale on loan if the deal makes sense financially.

Lukaku is desperate to return to Inter after falling out of favor at Chelsea, who broke their transfer record when they bought the forward for £97.5m last summer, and there is a desire from all parties for the move to go through. Thomas Tuchel has no intention of standing in the Belgian’s way and talks between the clubs are under way.

Chelsea’s new owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have made it clear to Lukaku that they are ready to find a solution with Inter. The 29-year-old was disappointing last season and does not look suited to Tuchel’s system. Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, the co-founder of Clearlake, will be guided by Tuchel on football matters and have taken into account their manager’s views on Lukaku.

However a significant amount of work needs to be done if Lukaku, whose lawyer has been in touch with Inter, is to leave. Inter cannot afford to sign him on a permanent basis and Chelsea, who could join the race to sign Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, could demand as much as £25m as a loan fee. They will also want the Italian club to cover a heavy portion of the former Manchester United player’s £325,000-a-week wages.

It could be difficult for Inter to meet those demands given that financial issues forced them to sell Lukaku last year. They are trying to sign Paulo Dybala, with the Argentina forward set to leave Juventus on a free transfer, but could lose more key players. Tottenham want to strengthen their defense by signing Alessandro Bastoni and have targeted the Italy international’s fellow Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who has been linked with Chelsea. Inter could also receive bids for their forward Lautaro Martínez.

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Lukaku enjoyed a hugely productive relationship with Martínez when Inter won Serie A two seasons ago. That convinced Chelsea to bring him back last year but the move soon turned sour. Lukaku managed only 15 goals in all competitions and he created needless controversy after questioning Tuchel’s tactics and talking about his desire for him to return to Inter during an unauthorized interview with Sky Italia last winter.

Chelsea will make significant funds available for Tuchel to strengthen his attack. Jesus, who wants to leave Manchester City after the signing of Erling Haaland, is on Chelsea’s shortlist. The Brazil striker’s deal runs out next year and City want £45m-£50m for the 25-year-old. Arsenal and Tottenham are also trying to sign him.

Chelsea have also shortlisted Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, City’s Raheem Sterling and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé, who is available on a free. They will listen to offers for Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic.

Boehly is in London this week and has held talks with Tuchel over transfer plans. Chelsea need reinforcements in defense after losing Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. César Azpilicueta could join Barcelona and Marcos Alonso has said that he wants to leave Chelsea, who are pushing to sign Sevilla’s Jules Koundé. They are also targeting RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, Juventus’s Matthijs de Ligt, Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Atlético Madrid’s José Giménez.

Boehly and Eghbadi will represent Chelsea when the Premier League holds its annual meeting on Thursday. It has not been confirmed whether Bruce Buck, Chelsea’s chairman under Abramovich, and the director Marina Granovskaia have long-term futures at the club.

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