Chelsea’s pursuit of Romelu Lukaku appeared to be gathering momentum, but the Blues have faced a new setback after the Inter president hit the pause button on negotiations
Tuchel coy when quizzed on Chelsea’s Lukaku links
Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku transfer chase has reportedly suffered a blow with Inter Milan ’s president ‘pausing for reflection’.
The Blues had an £85m bid for the Belgian striker rejected by Inter earlier this week.
Inter’s financial problems mean they could be forced to sell the 28-year-old in order to raise much needed funds.
Highly rated full-back Achraf Hakimi joined PSG earlier in the window to help ease financial troubles, while Lukaku’s strike partner Lautaro Martinez, could also leave Inter this summer.
However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Steven Zhang is now taking some time to consider the deal before he decides what he wants to do, in what is the latest twist in the transfer saga.
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Zhang had reportedly initially agreed to negotiate a potential move for Lukaku, while the latest development could force the Blues to make a higher offer.
Further reports suggest Lukaku has told Inter he would like them to accept a suitable offer which would allow him to move back to Chelsea.
The Belgian forward told Dutch broadcaster VTM in June that he was happy in Italy, despite constant reports linking him to Stamford Bridge.
“Yes, I am staying. I feel good at Inter,” Lukaku said.
Lukaku spent three seasons in west London before being sold to Everton in 2014.
The Belgian striker almost returned to Chelsea in 2017 when the Blues reached an agreement with Everton, only for rivals Manchester United to outbid them in a move worth £75million.
Lukaku then joined Inter in 2019 for £73million, where he has just helped the Italian giants win their first Scudetto in 11 seasons.
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The 28-year-old scored 24 times during last season’s title winning campaign, while he also provided 11 assists.
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel refused to comment on the transfer saga after Wednesday’s pre-season fixture against Tottenham, but did admit the Belgian forward was a “fantastic player.”
“I will not talk about players who don’t play in my squad,” said Tuchel.
“And Romelu Lukaku is a fantastic player but he’s a player from Inter and it’s with all the respect I will not talk about him in this situation.
When asked about Lukaku expressing his desire to re-join Chelsea, Tuchel said: “Everybody wants to come (to Chelsea) hopefully. Not everybody unfortunately, but you can imagine that a lot of players want to come and join.
“The board is not offering players. That’s not the way it works so far.
“We’re talking with the board about players and if our opinions and the scouts conclude, then we target players who, in all our opinion, could make our squad stronger, which is quite a challenge to find.
“We don’t only talk about talent but also attitude because we have a strong squad and there are some players of which we think they could be a good target and good add-ons and good improvement in our squad.”
The 28-year-old remains the Blues number one transfer target after pursuing Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland earlier in the window.
Lukaku could be the perfect solution to a side desperately in need of a clinical goalscorer.
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