Lukaku set for Inter loan deal

Chelsea's £97.5m club-record signing to take pay cut as he seeks exit: Reports

LONDON • Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will rejoin Italian side Inter Milan on a one-year loan deal after a disappointing spell with the English Premier League club, according to reports on Tuesday.

Inter are reported to have negotiated an €8 million (S$11.7 million) loan fee to sign the Belgian, who reportedly agreed on a pay cut to leave Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5 million (S$166 million) deal before the start of last season, claiming the transfer was an emotional return home after he played for the club from 2011-2014.

But, after scoring four goals in his first four appearances, the 29-year-old's second stint with Chelsea quickly turned sour.

He ended this season as Chelsea's top scorer with 15 goals, but the former Manchester United and Everton player scored only eight times in the league.

He netted just three times in his final appearances for the club.

A controversial interview with Italian TV in December featured Lukaku admitting that he was unhappy with the way he was used by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and hinting that he was already thinking about leaving.

Lukaku, who won the Serie A title with Inter last year, was briefly dropped by Tuchel following his outburst and was later forced to apologise to Chelsea and fans.

The Blues finished third in the Premier League and won the Club World Cup, but they were beaten by Liverpool in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.

Lukaku is thought to have pushed for the move back to Inter and Chelsea's new co-owner Todd Boehly, who was yesterday announced as the club's new chairman, has given the green light.

Once his move is officially complete, Tuchel will be able to turn his attention to seeking a replacement. Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski despite the Poland striker's desire to leave Bayern Munich for Barcelona. But Barca's financial issues could open the door for the Blues to pounce on the 33-year-old's unsettled situation.

Lukaku's impending departure may also point Tuchel towards a more fluid approach without an out-and-out striker.

Chelsea hold strong interest in Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, with the England forward open to leaving the Premier League champions with just one year left on his contract.

Tuchel also hopes to complete the signing of Sevilla's French centre-back Jules Kounde.

Elsewhere, French Ligue 1 club Monaco have agreed on a deal worth £15.5 million with Liverpool to sign Japanese forward Takumi Minamino. The 27-year-old signed from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in 2020, and has played 55 times for the Reds, scoring 14 times.

Arsenal, meanwhile, announced they have completed the signing of attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira, 22, from Portuguese champions Porto, who said last week they had agreed on a €40 million deal.

Vieira racked up seven goals and 16 assists from 39 appearances in all competitions last season as Porto won the league and Cup double. "Fabio is a very creative player that will bring high quality and versatility to our attacking play," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Lukaku set for Inter loan deal. Subscribe