It was at the start of the week that Chelsea firmly set their sights on bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan. Five days of hard negotiating later, Marina Granovskaia struck a deal.
football.london understands the Blues have agreed to pay around £98million for the forward, who will sign a five-year contract with the current champions of Europe.
A medical, per The Athletic, is set to be undertaken in Lukaku’s native Belgium today. The 28-year-old will then fly to London and could be officially presented as a Chelsea player tomorrow.
The move is a homecoming of sorts for Lukaku. He was on the Blues’ books for three seasons between 2011 and 2014, but one of those was largely spent with the Development Squad and the other two involved loan moves to West Bromwich Albion and Everton, who he would later join permanently.
A boyhood Chelsea supporter who idolised Didier Drogba, there was always a feeling that Lukaku had unfinished business at Stamford Bridge.
In 2017, he was close to making a return from Everton only for Manchester United to hijack the deal and take him to Old Trafford. This time around, there have been no such complications, no subplots.
The presence of Thomas Tuchel in the Chelsea dugout is said to have been a significant factor in Lukaku’s decision to return.
And while the German coach was coy when asked earlier in the week about a move for Belgium’s record scorer, he did admit his squad lacked a forward of Lukaku’s profile.
“With the exit of Olivier Giroud, we could use a type player who is used to playing with their back to the goal and can keep possession out of long balls as that means we can add this direct style of play to our portfolio,” Tuchel explained after Chelsea’s pre-season draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
“That isn’t Timo [Werner], it’s not Tammy [Abraham], it’s not Kai [Havertz]. So this is a profile we don’t have in the squad that can be useful. But not for any cost and not in panic. No matter what happens, we will be competitive and we have trust in our guys.”
Lukaku will not only bring a much-needed physical presence to the Chelsea attack. He also guarantees goals. A lot of them.
In 252 Premier League appearances, Lukaku scored 113 times. He also found the back of the net on 47 occasions in just 72 outings for Inter Milan.
There will have been a huge deal of satisfaction among those at Chelsea involved in the Lukaku deal. And that will have only increased today with news that has emerged from north London.
It’s not been an easy summer for Tottenham. There were weeks of uncertainty over who would lead the club into the 2021/22 campaign; Nuno Espirito Santo was eventually settled upon. Meanwhile, the club’s talisman, Harry Kane, appears intent on forcing through a move to Manchester City.
The future of Kane remains uncertain but – as any well-run club should – Tottenham have moved for an alternative to the England captain: Lautaro Martinez.
football.london understands that earlier this week, Tottenham agreed a fee worth more than €60million with Inter for the Argentine, who has also attracted interest from Arsenal. However, that deal was struck before Chelsea came to terms with the Italian giants over a move for Lukaku.
Inter are now understood to be making noises that they do not want to sell Martinez. His agent, Alejandro Camano, has also told FCInter1908.it that the 23-year-old will not force his way out of San Siro. The window of opportunity for both Spurs and Arsenal may have closed.
Chelsea are unlikely to have known that during talks for Lukaku. But the fact the club have landed an elite-level forward while potentially scuppering the attempts of Tottenham and Arsenal to improve their forward line certainly will certainly be a nice bonus.
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Source by Football London