Inter Milan are in talks with Chelsea to re-sign Romelu Lukaku on loan this summer.
Lukaku, who joined Chelsea for a club-record £97.5m from Inter last August, wants to return to the San Siro after a disappointing 2021/22 campaign.
However, the deal must make financial sense for Chelsea if they are to sanction the striker’s return to Italy.
Inter cannot afford to sign Lukaku – who scored 64 goals in 95 games and helped them win the Serie A title during his time at the club – on a permanent deal.
The Belgian international’s lawyer met with Inter last week to inquire about the feasibility of a possible return to Serie A, according to Sky in Italy.
Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta has said the club are “in no rush” about Lukaku’s potential return but are keen to re-sign him this summer.
Inter are looking for a striker and Marotta has said he ‘hopes’ Paulo Dybala will sign for them after leaving Juventus when his contract expires.
Lukaku has now endured two unproductive spells at Chelsea. The 29-year-old’s first came between 2011 and 2014, when he joined the Blues as a teenager from Anderlecht but spent the majority of his time on loan at West Brom and Everton.
He returned to Stamford Bridge last summer as one of the best strikers in the world, but scored 15 goals in 44 games in all competitions for the Blues and spent much of the second half of the campaign out of the starting XI.
The former Manchester United striker also upset Chelsea in December when he gave an unauthorized interview to Sky in Italy in which he appeared to question head coach Thomas Tuchel’s tactics and expressed a desire to return to Inter in the future.
What positions are Chelsea targeting?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Chelsea are pressing ahead with their summer recruitment plans now that the £4.25 billion takeover of the club by the Todd Boehly-led consortium has been completed.
The Blues have already reached a verbal agreement with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Spanish club preferring a quick deal as they aim to balance their books before June 30.
Talks over a deal for Koundé collapsed last year, but there is optimism from all parties that it will be done this time around.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe is part of a shortlist of central defensive options and is favored by Thomas Tuchel. Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are also among those wanted.
Chelsea are keen on Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni but he is expected to end up at Real Madrid. Ibrahim Sangare of PSV is among the alternatives sought.
What should Chelsea do this summer?
Joe Stream, Sky Sports football reporter:
Given that Chelsea were crowned European champions just 12 months ago, it is perhaps surprising to hear Thomas Tuchel talk about the need for a ‘rebuild’ this summer, as he did after that his side ended their season with a home win against Watford. But that Champions League triumph in 2021 came out of nowhere – Chelsea were fourth in the Premier League that year – and that arduous campaign exposed the head coach’s squad’s problems.
While Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola were able to put together squads to meet their specific demands, Tuchel had to assemble a group of players signed by six different managers. With Todd Boehly now in charge, now is the time to support Tuchel and allow him to build his own team capable of challenging for the title for the first time since 2017.
Work must start in defence, where departing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are to be replaced by two quality centre-backs. Now may also be the time to replace Cesar Azpilicueta – a Chelsea legend but now 32 and keen to return to Spain – with a more dynamic right-back. The Blues’ reliance on Marcos Alonso – following Ben Chilwell’s injury – has cost them this season and with the left-back also reportedly keen to return to Spain, signing a replacement should be on the to-do list .
In midfield, decisions need to be made on the future of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, who are in their 30s and have just one year left on their contracts. Chelsea can’t allow them to go down the same path as Rudiger and Christensen and leave for free, so they have to decide whether to offer them new deals this summer or let them go for a fee. Even if Kante stays, a younger option in the mold of the French midfielder should be sought given how long he has been unavailable in recent seasons.
Attacking is the area of the Chelsea squad that has received the most investment in recent windows, but the Blues shouldn’t be deterred from looking to bolster their goalscoring options if an opportunity arises. The last player to score 20 goals in a season for the club was Eden Hazard, and he left three years ago, so there’s clearly room for improvement in that area.
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